River Safety

Prepare your gear

  • Wear an approved personal floatation device (PFD) at all times
  • Tie an extra paddle to the boat
  • Secure a strong rope at least 10' long to the bow and stern of your boat
  • Carry a first aid kit, repair kit and flashlight
  • Carry a map of the trail with emergency numbers
  • Take rain gear and a change of clothes in a watertight container
  • Take sunscreen and insect repellant, sunglasses and a brimmed hat
  • Take your own litterbag - never throw trash in or along the river
  • Learn the basics of using your boat before you begin your trip

Play it safe

  • Never boat alone - two or more boats are preferred
  • Don't overload your craft -- plan no more than two adults per boat and center the load
  • Place food and personal belongings in waterproof containers that are tied to the boat
  • Wear non-slip shoes at all times, as you may have to walk on sharp rocks on the river bottom
  • Plan your trip carefully - perhaps the difference between a quality experience and a dissasterous one
  • Don't forget that driving time is extra - plan your shuttle
  • Allow ample time to reach your destination - 2-3 miles per hour canoeing or kayaking under normal conditions (twice as long tubing)
  • Check ahead of time to see if the section of river you are paddling has a mandatory portage and plan accordingly
  • Let someone know where you plan to be on the river and at what time you plan to return

Know the conditions

  • Check the weather forecast and never paddle during flood conditions
  • Be aware that hypothermia is possible even in warm weather if the water is cold  [a good rule of thumb is that if the water temperature plus the air temperature is less than 100 degrees (f), then hypothermia may occur
  • If there is lightning in the area, leave the river and seek a low lying area, away from trees if possible, particularly isolated trees. Crouch down but do NOT lay down. Bend your knees, keep your feet together and do not touch your hands to the ground.  Stay away from anything metal, particularly metal canoes

Swim at your own risk

  • Do not wade into the water if you cannot swim
  • If you cannot swim or are not a strong swimmer, always wear a PFD in or near water
  • Children should never enter into the river at any time without close adult supervision and a PFD
  • No one should attempt to wade after periods of rain or when the water level of the river is high
  • Only enter the water when it is clear enough to see the river bottom, including underwater ledges, sharp rocks, deep holes and debris along the bottom

Respect property

  • The river is public, but flows through private property. Do not  trespass, abuse or litter the waters, banks or shorelines
  • Do not cut or damage plant life on the riverbanks. Respect the birds and animals that live in the river basin