A RIVER SAFETY TIP
are many different types of rivers, from raging torrents to placid
waters where the flow is difficult to distinguish. All deserve
your attention so that you are not the aim of ridicule around
the fire at the end of the day! So, with that in mind, here are
some basic tips to keep things flowing.
First off, make sure your equipment is in good order. Your equipment
should include: a boat with no leaks, paddles, PFD's, a first
aid kit, and a rope for tying the boat off when you want to check
out a cool waterfall.
always have an action plan to go by in case something unexpected
happens. Let someone know that you are on the water and check
to see if there are any areas downstream that will be close to
roads in case of an emergency. A vehicle at the takeout makes
for a much easier time getting back and also is valuable in case
of emergency. If there is a group boating together, it is extremely
helpful to have whistles and some semblance of signals between
the boats. If you are planning on being on the water for an extended
period of time (4+ hours), check the weather before going out
and observe any significant rainfall in areas upstream.
clothing makes a big difference in your overall experience. Whether
it is sunny and 80, or raining and 50, no one wants to be wet
and cold all day or end the day with sunburn either. If you are
trying to stay warm when wet, follow one simple rule...do not
wear cotton! Sandals or a quick drying shoe are also important
if you have tender feet or are in an area with sharp rocks or
man made debris. When moving around the river banks, be careful
of snakes, slippery rocks and steep sandy banks that may give
way under you.
of the single, most important rules for all river users is never
to dive into a stream; always go in feet first. If you do find
yourself swimming, voluntarily or not, do not try to stand up
in the swift water, doing so may cause your feet to get pinned
under a rock so you can't move! Try to swim aggressively in swift
water, especially if there are hazards such as trees or large
boulders downstream. Swim away from the hazards; but if the current
is too strong and is pushing you towards trees, swim into them
head first and try to get on top, as opposed to getting pushed
under and through the branches.
paddling on an unfamiliar stream, always pull over when you see
a horizon line in front of you, and do it with plenty of time