Rescue Tube

Also Known As: Lifeguard Tube

A rescue tube is an oblong, flexible device designed to buoy a victim in a water rescue. It is a critical piece of equipment that should be carried by all on-duty lifeguards.

Usually made of vinyl, a rescue tube is usually 45 to 54 inches long. It can support the weight of the rescuer and several victims. A leash attached to one end can be worn around the lifeguard’s body. This allows the rescuer to tow the tube while swimming. When outfitted with clips, the tube can be wrapped around the victim. Rescue tubes are usually red but can also come in a variety of colors and are often stamped with the word “Guard” or “Lifeguard.”

A rescue tube can be used in a poolside or water rescue. Because the rescue tube is so buoyant, it can support even a very heavy victim, keeping the person’s mouth above water while he or she is being brought to safety. Special precautions should be taken if there is a risk of spinal injury. In those cases, a rescue tube may cause further injury.

Lifeguards should always be at the ready, wearing a rescue tube around their chests or placing it directly on their laps.