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Tips for River Safety and Kayaking

During this time of year, rivers and streams can attract children and adults who are looking to find a cool place to swim and play. However, too many times people are seriously hurt or even killed by the strong moving current of a river. REMSA would like to remind everyone of some important river safety tips:

River Safety and Kayaking Tips:

  • Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don’t return.
  • Be sure your whitewater skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions you are facing. NEVER BOAT ALONE.
  • Wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when you are in or near the river.
  • Wear a helmet – particularly during river kayaking.
  • Be prepared for extremes in weather, especially cold. Know about the dangers of hypothermia and how to deal with it.
  • Reduce the threat of injury by wearing protective footwear and proper clothing.
  • Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Learn or review medical aid responsibilities and CPR.
  • Never run a rapid unless you can see a clear path through it. Watch out for new snags after winter and spring floods.
  • Allow the craft ahead of you to pass through the rapid before you enter it. This will avoid a double disaster if the leading boat blocks the channel.
  • When in doubt, stop and scout.

Rescuing Drowning People is Dangerous:

Drowning people often pull down would-be-rescuers by grasping and climbing on them. REACH OR THROW (DON’T GO!)

Items you can reach with include:

  • Branch
  • Towel
  • Shirt
  • Paddle or anything between you and a drowning person

…or throw them anything that floats. Such as:

  • An Ice Chest
  • A Ball
  • Or Plastic Jugs


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