Right now in Minnesota, it isn’t even 10 a.m., but the humidity is so thick that one feels like they are at least ten pounds heavier with every sticky step. What does that mean? Well, it means that the air conditioners are working overtime. Plus, it means that tubing down a river sounds like the perfect solution to the weather woes.
Many Minnesotans travel to river areas in the state to stay cool while tubing with a group of buddies for a day. The river keeps them from constantly sweating, and usually, it is beer that keeps people from going thirsty. You can probably see how this leisurely activity can lead to alcohol-related trouble, including incidents of DWI, underage drinking, accidents and disorderly conduct.
According to news reports, one popular business that rents out tubes in Red Lake Falls has worked hard to address safety and legal concerns. The business has been running for 27 years and attracts thousands of tubers every year – as many as 1,500 on Saturdays alone.
For the most part, most who make it out to the river are young adults who are of legal drinking age. They often bring coolers with them and float them by their group on the river. Within the 4-mile stretch of river on a hot day, a person easily becomes intoxicated.
Alcohol use on the river has resulted in four tubing deaths in the past decade. That tragic reality has prompted the business owners to work together with officials in order to improve safety on the river and prevent underage drinking.
Law enforcement now uses Jet Skis on the river in order to more effectively monitor tubers. They reportedly look for any disorderly conduct, excessive intoxication and tubers under the age of 21 who are consuming alcohol. Compared to using boats, the Jet Skis give officials access to more parts of the river.
The tubing business owners have taken it upon themselves to prevent alcohol-related dangers from affecting their customers. They no longer allow patrons to drink on the bus ride to the tubing launch site. They keep the coolers away from all of their customers until they reach the river. Tubers under the age of 21 are prohibited from renting coolers from the business.
In order to prevent underage drinking, drunk driving and other offenses or dangers on the river, the business owners have put more security personnel in place. If you are headed to the river during these next hot months in Minnesota, keep all of these points in mind. An alcohol-related slip up could endanger your physical safety and your criminal record.
GrandForksHerald.com: “Tigher take on tubing,” Ryan Bakken, 16 Jul. 2011