Float Tubing and life vest

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by chk, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. I picked up a new float tube the other day and started thinking about getting one of those CO2 life vests to use with it. Whenever I've been on a lake in my old float tube, I never have never seen anyone in the lake with a life vest.

    That got me started thinking about what would happen if somehow the float tube lost all pressure rapidly and I was not able to make it back to shore and my waders filled up with water.

    Do any of you wear a life vest while on the lake in either a float tube, pontoon or watermaster?

  2. Legally you have to have a life jacket in a pontoon boat, but not in a float tube. Not sure about the watermaster, since it's really in between the two.

    It's not a bad idea to wear an SOS inflatable though. Depends on the conditions and how good of a swimmer you are too. Definitely wear a wading belt though, if you are using waders!!

    A belt saved me a lot of trouble on the Yakima back in April and I should have had my life jacket on.

    Stay safe!
  3. Chong,

    I used to wear a life vest when I first started out tubing. After many warm days on the lake, I quit using it. The tube that I have, has a thick rubber tire-like float. Periodically I have had lost air pressure, but it is very gradual and you could kick back to shore at the speed of a leech and still have enough air pressure to stay afloat. The only somewhat close accident I had was when I was trying to dislodge a fly from a log underneath me. With most of my body leaning over the front of the tube, I almost flipped it. Never again did I do that. So with common sense, you will be fine. I have fished large lakes with big rollers and have never been close to tipping it and when the weather becomes like that, being out there sucks anyways. That is my 2 cents!!
  4. I'm always wary about tipping over while leaning out to land a big fish in my tube. Remember also that most of the tubes have 2 seperate inflatables for the back and head rest. As far as the waders filling up with water there has been some discussion on here about the weight of water in water is the same so it wouldn't pull you down until you stood up on the shore to get down. However, do I want to be the one to test that out? Hell no! If if makes you feel safer, puts your mind at ease and enhances your fishing experience I say wear one.
  5. I've flipped and I have puctured. Flipping was no big deal for me as I was agile. I do remeber looking up from under water thinking, This sucks!.

    Puntured is another story. I too thought a slow leak I could work my way in. Not the case. As the tube deflated it became so inefficient that I only made it about 50 feet in about 15 minutes. The back rest bladders were pertty much useless except to keep you afloat and even then. You could get in trouble with cold water pretty fast if you spend an hour trying to get to shore. I had to have a boat assist me.

    I keep an inflatable vest behind the seat on my Fat Cat. I would probably abandon the tube, put on the vest, tighten the waders belt and tow the tube in. It would be better than to be grabbing a deflated tube.

  6. Old saw: better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    I always wear my SOS inflatable PFD in the float tube and assume that, even in these days of lax federal regulation, it will work if I pull the ripcord. On the personal responsibility front, I also regularly check that the CO2 cartridge is firmly seated.

    And even if the hypothermia gets you, at least you’ll be bobbing around on top and it won’t take divers three days to find your sorry carcass. -- Larry
  7. Gotta agree with LG - don't be sorry. I wear the SOS inflatable, and I don't even notice its there. Get the one with manual inflation only, you don't want an accidental inflation just because you took a big wave.
  8. I'm pretty cautious since I still use a death donut, although I could benefit from the advice in here. I don't own a PFD yet either. Couple other things besides stuff already mentioned - if alone forget going way out from shore (on big water) or at night. Also, if you hike in by yourself, be extra paranoid about where the snags are...not cool getting poked or tangled when in a tube alone. Lastly, panic is really REALLY bad...easier said, I know.

    Haven't flipped mine but found this interesting (see bottom regarding flip):

  9. I don't wear one but my father in law who I fish with alot does because he has no confidence in his swimming abilities. I always think I can make it back to shore but if I was smart, I'd get one too.
  10. While you are at it consider one of those really loud whistles. Marine stores have them. Small light weight but they really make a good super super loud signal. Waving your hands and yelling when you need help is not the best use of energy in a critical situation.

    I got one that is OK but am going to upgrade to a super model. Hearing something over the wind and an engine can be tough.

    I am also considering carrying a smoke flare. If you have every actually tried to flag down a boat it can be hard. Daytime smoke rules. At night red flares work good, but during the day it would be easy to miss 10 seconds of light.


  11. "Dead on," no bad pun intended. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." And do drop the dime for a 'SOSuspender' set up. You only need it once ... and worth 50 times the price.
  12. Personally, I think the SOSpenders are a must. Mine are very comfortable and I feel much safer knowing they are there. I have never had a punture or a flip, but I once had the seam on the fabric on the inside of the tube split on me one time resulting in my seat dropping out. I can tell you it is not a good feeling. Even if you are a good swimmer, if your tube is like mine, you are pretty well strapped in. It would be tough getting out, especially while wearing swim fins.
  13. I've got a pair of the SOS suspenders that I use when rafting high lakes, and I've taken to using them on lowland lakes, too. I need to have have the cartridge charged, but in the meantime it takes me only a couple of seconds to inflate it by mouth.
  14. Why risk it?

    I bob around in my Caddis U-tube pretty far from shore, and I'm out when the water is 45 degrees sometimes. I have a CO2 inflatable waist-belt style and strap it on every time I'm in the tube. It doesn't get in the way at all and I never worry about safety at that point.

  15. If one were really on top of it, they would actually try to swim in with the waders and vest. I think it might be really tough. Hence the whistle.

    Don't forget some type of wading belts otherwise you would be a huge drift anchor with a buoy!

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