|Pennsylvania has no general law prohibiting launching of inner
tubes or tubing on the Pennsylvania rivers. There is no special fee to tube on Pennsylvania
Whether it is legal to launch or retrieve inner tubes at particular access areas
depends on the regulations for those sites. Under Fish and Boat Commission regulations (58 Pa.
Code 53.16(c)), it is unlawful to launch or retrieve swimming aids, such as inner tubes and
similar devices, from access areas managed for fishing and boating by the Commission.
Why? As a general proposition, Commonwealth properties managed by the state Fish and Boat
Commission are maintained for use by anglers and boaters for fishing and boating. In
Pennsylvania, the Fish and Boat Commission operates on funds acquired from the sale of fishing
licenses, related permits and boat registrations. It receives no general tax funding like most
state agencies do. Activities, such as inner tubing, may interfere with the fishing and boating
uses for which these properties were acquired and maintained. Persons who use a Fish and Boat
Commission access area to park a car and launch or retrieve an inner tube may be taking up space
reserved for (and paid for by) anglers and boaters. In addition, the incompatibility between
swimming and use of swimming aids raises safety concerns when it occurs in close proximity to a
launch ramp used by power boats. Field reports show that, in many cases, these are incompatible
activities, and the Fish and Commission is duty bound to prevent activities incompatible with
fishing and boating at PFBC access areas.