Our summer vacation over the past few years has been to rent the same quaint little white housekeeping cottage. It sits right on the edge of Pine Lake in Northern Ontario. Actually there are 5 cottages that line the shore, all filled with old and new friends. Its a blast! One of the families brings their sunshine yellow speed boat and drops it in the lake for a fun-filled week of water skiing, knee boarding and tubing. “Awesome!” I thought to myself the first year they brought it up. My kids are going to have wonderful experiences & memories of water sports, something I never experienced growing up. Or so I thought…
It all happened one clear and sunny afternoon, the day was filled with lively tubing. All the kids – secured with life jackets – were taking turns. Some wanted to go faster while others preferred a leisurely ride. All was fun until one of the boys wanted to be “thrown off” the tube. There were 3 boys on the tube, my son being one of them (by the way, he was not the boy wanting to be thrown off…). The task of tipping these boys proved to be more difficult than thought, so the driver had to increase his speed and sharp turns… Until the tube hit the wake hard and finally tipped. My son, being very light, propelled high into the air, he was reaching a height I didn’t think possible… much higher than the others. And what goes up, must come down. My heart was pounding as I sat helpless in the boat. He came down hard with a big thud into the water.
This was 2 years ago and he has not returned to any water sports. My story is not tragic, aside from his fright, he did not suffer any injuries. However, as a parent I still replay the altitude of his flight in my mind and am haunted by the never-ending “what ifs”. I am so grateful he was fine, but I’m much more cautious now. I thought I was doing my due-diligence by ensuring everyone had proper fitting life jackets. I should have said something, but I didn’t really have enough experience or knowledge of the potential dangers…I am now more informed.
I am not against tubing. In fact, I still think water sports are a great summer activity, you just need to be safe on the water. So if you find yourself in a boat around this Canada Day Weekend, don’t forget:
- Wear a PFD
- Follow the manufactures recommendations for number of riders per tube
- Operate & ride the tube responsibly
Here are some more tips, and check out this video about more safety (BTW, we’re not endorsing this company who sells the products. We know nothing about them :))
If you want to connect with us more directly for additional parenting information, you can :
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- Dial 311 (within Halton) or 905-825-6000 to talk with one of the public health nurses. We’re around Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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