Know your rescue tube

12 June 2018
A vital, if not the most vital, piece of kit for a lifesaver is their trusty Rescue Tube – slung over the body, always ready, always vigilant.

How much do you know about this essential piece of lifesaving apparatus?

The rescue tube is usually made of vinyl and is buoyant enough to support the full weight of a rescuer and several victims.

The tube has a long leash that the lifeguard wears around the body to tow the tube along while swimming a long distance. The rescue tube is usually yellow but can come of a variety of colours.

Rescue tubes often have the words "Guard" or "Lifeguard" printed on them. The tube may also have clips, so that it may be wrapped around a person.

Another variety of the Rescue Tube is the Rescue Buoy - it’s a hollow plastic rescue flotation device, often referred to as a Torpedo Buoy, because of its shape; and is often called a "Torp" for short by Lifeguards. Because of its rigidity, it is slightly more hazardous in surf conditions.

However, the rescue buoy generally has more buoyancy than a rescue tube, allowing the rescuer to assist multiple victims. There are several colours and sizes available commercially. The rails, or sides, or the buoy have handles allowing victims to grab on.

Like the tube, the buoy is connected by a rope to a strap the rescuer wears. This allows them to swim while towing the buoy and victim. The buoy may also be connected to a landline device, which allows individuals onshore to pull the rescuer and victims back to shore.

Early versions were constructed of aluminium, wood, cork, and fiberglass, with rope rails.

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