Rescue Tubes – How to Select a Good One

Lifeguard Rescue tubes are essential and needed for swimming pools and lakes across the country. How do you know which ones to select and get? And what do you look for?

First you want to decide how big your rescue tube should be. Typically in a smaller size swimming pool, a tube that is used is about 40 inches long. A smaller rescue tube is preferred when there are less than 10 people swimming at one time. In a larger size swimming pool, lifeguards and lifeguard managers and supervisors prefer to get a tube that is 50 inches long. A longer tube is usually preferred when there are many patrons in the water at one time.

OK, now that we have the size down, what other aspects of a rescue tube is there to consider?

Let’s talk about the strap of the tube. Typically the strap is 8 feet long, has the ability to go around the shoulder of the lifeguard, and the strap is adjustable to the shoulder of the lifeguard.

How is the strap attached to the tube? On some tubes the strap will attach it self to the edge of the tube through stitching. This increases the chance of the strap breaking off from the tube. On the top quality rescue tubes, the strap runs all the way through the tube and out the other side. This ensures where ever the strap goes, the tube will follow. The strap going all the way through the tube gives immense strength and durability to the tube.

Another aspect to consider is getting a rescue tube is the outside layering. Many times what will happen is after repeated use and after a few years, the outside layering of the tube will become cracked or chipped away. This cracking exposes the inside of the tube. Once the inside of the tube is exposed, etube the deterioration of the tube is increased. One reason the outside layering is being chipped is because of the elements, weather, and how old the tube is. Another reason of this chipping away is because the lifeguard actually chips at it. When lifeguarding, many times the rescue tube is on the lifeguard’s lap. And as the lifeguard sits and watches the pool, the guard may pick and peal away at the tube. Not to be malicious, but because sometimes when the pool has low activity, it can get pretty boring.

What to do about this? Sometimes managers will buy a rescue tube cover to protect the rescue device. This cover goes around the rescue tube and will cover about 60% of the tube. The most important part to cover is the middle of the device. This is more than enough protection for the tube.

There is yet another alternative for the outside layering. Some companies are aware of this outside layering chipping away and have adjusted for this in making there outside coating double in thickness. This gives an added layer to the outside of the tube for more protection from the elements and possible picking. There is also one rescue tube out there that I know of that has 3 coating around the outside layer for 3 times the strength.

Now we go from the outside to the inside. What is in the inside of the rescue tube? Well, it is typically a foam. Some companies may use just any foam to put inside the tube. Using any standard foam limits the amount of years the tube can be used. As foam has a tendency to rotting away. There is one rescue tube that I know of that has a special closed cell foam. This dramatically increases the life of the tube by years. If you are looking for extra superior quality, this is what you want to look for.

And finally, what about the edges of the tube? How is it tied in with the strap. Even thought the strap may run all the way through the rescue device, on higher quality tubes, there still needs to be a reinforced closing that attaches the edge of the tube with the strap, and the strap on both ends. This dramatically helps ripping along that area. As this is the area that gets the most stressed when pulled. So an added protection here is very beneficial for the life of the tube.


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