With an estimated 10,000 people and over 4500 registered floaters, this year’s Parker Tube Float was heralded as a big success for the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, Parker Area Tourism and law enforcement.
According to vehicle counts at Vidal Junction Inspection Station, on CA-62 as it approaches Parker, the traffic into the area on Tube Float weekend vastly exceeded regular weekend traffic and the number of people actually floating. Around 3000 vehicles go through the station on the average weekend, 500 of them towing boats, and around 350+ RVs. But on Tube Float weekend, that number was 15,000+ autos, with 1290 boats and 900+ RVs, according to Tourism’s Josh Savino.
Assuming that the average vehicle was carrying 3 people, well over 45,000 people could be assumed to have arrived in the area that weekend on CA-62 alone, with other inbound routes adding to the traffic from Highway 95, Highway 72 and Mohave Road.
And the numbers on Memorial Day weekend were even bigger, with over 23,000 vehicles, 5,800 boats and 4,800 RVs reported by the station. Sheriff’s Lieutenant Donald Schlecht told KLPZ 1380am it was the busiest weekend on the river in a few years.
As for safety at the Tube Float, Schlecht and colleague Curt Bagby said the event was “uneventful in a good way”, with no missing people, no serious injury, no fatalities and no other major incidents.
There were 15 medical calls in total, dealing with non-life-threatening issues. The Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department dealt with up to 30 fights later in the day, which was attributed to the large numbers of people, a long, hot day and the influence of alcohol.
The lieutenants praised a “really good unified command” on the day of Tube Float, comprising U.S. Coastguard, La Paz County Sheriff, CRIT Police, San Bernardino Sheriff, CRIT Fish & Game, Buckskin Fire & Rescue, Native Air, River Medical and other agencies.
Bagby added that local homeowners seemed much happier this year too, with no major incidents involving private riverfront property.
Event organizer Mary Hamilton said she was glad that the number of registrations went up again, and that the event had been a safe one. “We had a good debriefing and will now be looking at every aspect of the event for next year to see what we can improve,” she said.
Hamilton added that the Coastguard had been “very pleased and happy with the event”, saying that their authorization for the Tube Float is an important part of it going ahead every year.
She also cited how well Parker area businesses had done on Tube Float weekend. “Circle K said they had huge business that weekend. They sell out of ice every Tube Float. It’s their biggest day in the state of Arizona.”