Check the weather before you leave. When the weather is cooler, wear quick drying clothes and take layers. Avoid wearing cotton. Staying dry and warm makes a trip a lot more fun when it is cold outside. Check the water levels within the river before you head out. Higher water typically means the river will be muddy and flows might make paddling difficult. Low water can create more obstacles to maneuver within the river.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will likely be home. Be prepared to stay out longer than you expect. Unexpected water conditions or taking a more leisurely float might make your trip longer than you thought. The following is a good list of items to have on any paddling trip.
Checklist of Items to Take
- Sunglasses / hat
- Appropriate clothing
- First aid kit with matches
- Waterproof bag / pouch for cell phone and other items.
- Small repair kit including duct tape
- Compass / GPS and map
- Spare paddle
- Safety whistle
What Do I Do if I Capsize?
In fast-moving water or rapids, get away and upstream from your boat until you reach slower moving water. Float on your back, feet downstream. Don’t try to stand in fast-moving water. Rocks or other objects can trap your feet and the force of the water can hold you under. Moving canoes filled with water can pin or crush paddlers against rocks or trees.
While on the River
One of the reasons we enjoy paddling is because we get to be closer to nature. While enjoying the beauty of nature, we must also be aware of its dangers. Being aware of potential dangers will help you prepare for them and have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Control pets or leave them at home.
Know and obey all rules and regulations.
Use only established access and portage sites and minimize impacts to shore when launching, portaging, scouting, or taking out.
Examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Respect other river users and riverfront property owners and do not trespass on private property.
No glass (recommended for safety).
Be courteous and polite when communicating with others.
Avoid interfering with the recreational activities of others.
Never engage in loud, lewd or inappropriate behavior.
- Wear a PFD
- Be Aware of Hazards Obstacles
- Respect Other Recreationalists
- High Water Conditions Strainers
- Weather Sun and Heat (Avoid Hyperthermia)
- Water Temperature (Avoid Hypothermia)
- Water Quality
- Be Prepared Checklist of Items to Take
- What Do I Do if I Capsize?
One of the reasons we enjoy paddling is because we get to be closer to nature. While enjoying the beauty of nature, we must also be aware of its dangers.
Being aware of potential dangers will help you prepare for them and have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
According to regulations, any child under 10 years of age is required to wear a PFD while in any moving boat, except when in an enclosed cabin. Wearing a PFD is the easiest way to prevent fatal accidents while out on the river.
While part of the beauty of the river, certain features can become obstacles and hazardous when paddling.
For example, rocks/bedrock ledges, rapids/shoals, bridges, and overhanging trees/branches can create obstacles or tip you over. Look ahead so that you will be prepared to maneuver around any obstacles. In areas of bedrock ledges and rapids, look for the area with the smoothest water that is shaped like a “V” pointing downstream. The smoothest water is likely your clearest path through rapids and over bedrock ledges. Canoes and kayaks can also be pinned between the current and a hazard if caught sideways between the two. When looking ahead, if a certain section looks too difficult for your group, stop a distance upstream and plan a route through or around the obstacle, perhaps even portaging around it. When travelling in groups, keep an eye on other group members; this will allow you to quickly help others if they do run into a potentially dangerous situation. Provide a safe distance between yourself and the paddler in front of you so they can safely navigate an obstacle. Watch other members of your group until they have safely passed obstacles. In a group with diverse paddling experience, it is helpful to have your most experienced paddlers watch out for the less experienced members of your group.
Respect Other Recreationalists
High Water Conditions
Due to a variety of conditions, water quality can vary throughout the State and organisms that cause illness may be present. Swimming and submersion in the water increase the risk of contracting water-borne illnesses. Ingesting river water should be avoided and cuts and sores should be kept out of the water and treated if exposed.