Safety on the Water: Canoe, Kayak, Raft & Tube

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A lifejacket can't save you if you don't wear it.

  • Children aged 12 and under MUST wear Coast Guard-approved lifejackets at all times when on the river.
  • Jackets must fit appropriately, and be fully fastened to be effective. Wearing a life jacket is not just common sense, it is THE LAW.
  • Lifejackets aren't just for kids. Any person paddling or boating MUST have their own US Coast Guard approved lifejacket or PFD onboard and readily accessible in case of emergency.
  • All boaters must wear lifejackets on boats less than 16 feet in length and on canoes and on kayaks, from November 1 through April 30, to protect boaters from cold water shock if they fall into the water.
  • Always wear your lifejacket on and in the water.
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If your canoe, kayak, or raft should break or capsize, remain calm!:

  • Hold on. Even a capsized canoe or kayak will float,.
  • Move to the upstream end of your vessel, if possible, to avoid being pinned between it and any debris downstream.
  • Lay on your back with your legs and feet pointed downstream.
  • Never attempt to stand in rapids or fast-moving water.
  • When you feel you have regained some control, attempt to slant toward shore.
  • Save people first. Boats and gear can be recovered later.
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Paddling is hot work! If you jump (or fall) in:

  • Always wear a lifejacket in the water .
  • Never drink then swim.
  • Never try to swim across the river.

River hazards include strong currents, boat traffic, and strainers (obstacles that allow water to pass through them, but trap boats and people). Watch where you and your vessel are going.

Did You Know?