Front Range rivers too dangerous for tubing

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DENVER -- Two apparent drownings in rivers on the Front Range are underscoring the importance of tubing bans during June runoff.

A 20-year-old Marine is still missing in the South Platte River after losing his tube and going under water on Saturday in Sheridan. The next day a 23-year-old Parker man drowned while tubing on the Arkansas River in Pueblo.

Tubing bans can be bad for business at the White Water Tubing Company in Boulder, but manager Paul Raymond wouldn’t think of renting tubes out to anyone now.

“I wish I didn’t have to hear about people drowning on the rivers I love,” Raymond said.

The likely drowning on the South Platte was just one example why tubing bans are in place.

“It’s just not safe for tubers right now,” Raymond said. “It’s just not safe.”

Paul is also certified in swift water rescue. He showed how water holes in the river can put even experienced swimmers at risk if they are on a tube.

“The water is coming over a rock, hitting the bedrock and splashing back on itself,” Raymond said as he threw an empty tube into a water hole. “You’ve got no control, you’re going right down the center of that and you’re going to flip over.”

He says there’s only one way tragedy can be avoided.

“Just staying off the water right now, being patient,” Raymond said. “There will be a great tubing season this year, I guarantee it. It’ll be awesome. Now is not the time.”

Despite the tubing bans, whitewater rafting and kayaking is still allowed and very popular, but you still need to be careful and seek out the help of professionals.

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