Inner Tubing On Iowa Rivers Can be Fun But Dangerous

Jul 20, 2016

Those who float down Iowa rivers in inner tubes should be watchful for high water levels and storm debris
Credit Flickr

Floating down the river on an inner tube is a common way to escape the summer heat. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has some advice to make your trip a smooth ride.

The DNR’s Todd Robertson says even though you’re surrounded by water, you still need to consume plenty of fluids.

"You have to drink enough water because heat exhaustion can come onto you," he says. "Even though you’re relaxing in a tube and just floating down the river, if that’s what you’re doing, it still takes a little bit of energy, and plus you’ve got the sun beating down on you, so you have to stay hydrated."

Robertson says inner tubes can also be difficult to control.

“You have your hands and you have your feet, you don’t have a paddle. So you’re basically at the mercy of the current when you’re in a tube," he explains.  "So some of these rivers that are really high in the state right now, you have no business being on anyway. And if you’re on one in a tube, chances are you’re gonna end up in some of that debris."

Robertson says debris, including downed trees and branches, are more numerous following recent storms. He says river users can enjoy the scenery but need to keep an eye downstream to avoid any hazardous surprises.