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California Tubing Accident Highlights Importance of Safety Precautions

The San Diego area offers many opportunities for people to enjoy water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. These activities can be fun and safe if the proper safety measures are taken. As demonstrated by a recent San Diego tubing accident, the failure to take such precautions can lead to tragedy.

As reported by Sign on San Diego, a man was recently killed in an inner-tube accident on Mission Bay. Family members told lifeguards that the victim had been riding a water device called a biscuit that was being towed behind a personal watercraft, lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum said. About 5:50 p.m., the man went under water and could not be found.

Lerum said the man had been wearing a life jacket, but it was not on him when he was found. The lifeguard noted that the device was too small for the man and may have been improperly fastened.

It also appeared that the tube was not properly inflated and that the inside part of it had separated from an outside sheath that held it, Lerum said. While authorities can not yet pinpoint the exact cause of the accident, it’s possible that the man had become entangled in the tow rope and was dragged underwater.

In a 2009 tubing accident in the same area, a 14-year-old boy was hospitalized for neck and back injuries and a possible broken leg after being struck by a personal watercraft while riding on an inner tube.

To avoid a tragic accident, water skiers, wake boarders, and tubers should follow all California laws. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • California law provides that any being towed behind a vessel must wear a Type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • California law requires there to be at least two persons aboard a boat towing a water skier: the operator, and an observer 12 years of age or older.
  • The towing of water skiers from sunset to sunrise is also prohibited by state law.
  • It is unlawful to water ski or operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.