LOUISVILLE, Ky. --The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District today announced an immediate ban on the extreme water sport of tube kiting on its lakes in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Tube kites are large, round, inflatable water devices approximately 10 feet in diameter. The tube is hooked to the back of a boat by a tow rope, and the tube rider pulls back on a rope as the boat travels at speeds between 25 and 35 miles per hour. The ride begins when the tube is lifted into the air trailing the boat. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, possible reasons for incidents and injuries include a rider’s difficulty in controlling the tube, boat operator inexperience, and how the tube reacts in certain weather conditions. Of highest concern are wind gusts that can cause the tube to spin out of control, and sudden slowing or stopping by the boat operator, which can cause the tube to nose dive into the water. The sudden stopping of the boat might cause the tube rider to continue past the boat and hit it or hit other boats or a bridge.
Injuries and several deaths from tube kiting have been reported in North America.
The ban applies to 18 lakes in the Louisville District jurisdiction: Barren River Lake, Buckhorn Lake, Carr Creek Lake, Green River Lake, Nolin Lake, Rough River Lake and Taylorsville Lake in Kentucky; Brookville Lake, Cagles Mill Lake, Cecil M. Harden Lake, J.E. Roush Lake, Mississinewa Lake, Patoka Lake, Monroe Lake and Salamonie Lake in Indiana; and Caesar Creek Lake, C.J. Brown Dam & Reservoir and William H. Harsha Lake in Ohio.
Louisville District commander Col. Ray Midkiff said, "The Corps’ goal is to maintain a safe environment at our facilities for our public to enjoy, and our policies reflect this."
The authority to ban tube kiting is under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations which gives the district authority to "… close or restrict the use of a project or portion of a project when necessitated by reason of public health, public safety, maintenance, resources protection or other reasons in the public interest." Districts may ban unsafe activities on Corps property in their jurisdiction.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently warned consumers about possible dangers associated with tube kiting and announced an investigation of the devices. The CPSC’s investigation is ongoing. Their web site is http://www.cpsc.gov/.
The Corps is posting information on the ban at boat ramps, campground fee booths, project offices, visitor’s centers, marinas and state parks at these lakes. The ban takes effect immediately. For information on Corps lakes, go to http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/.