- It takes several weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures to warm the water in rivers and lakes after spring arrives. Snow melt, cool temperature and overcast skies keep water cold long after winter is officially over. Hypothermia is a real possibility in early spring and fall.
- Rainfall and snow melt in the watershed can cause river levels to increase and create strong current.
- Lifejackets, boats and gear need to be inspected each spring after sitting all winter. Check for broken zippers and buckles, holes and cracks in boats and split blades on paddles.
- A lifejacket can do no good if it’s not worn. It is not rescue device designed to be thrown to someone in distress. Putting on a life-jacket while in the river is extremely difficult if not impossible.
- Paddling when rivers levels are low can be safe and enjoyable, but remember to add on extra time in your trip planning because walking may be involved. Walking boats can be tiring. Plan to bring plenty of water for staying hydrated and be alert for any hazards in the stream bed can become dangerous.
- Always file a float plan. A float plan can be as simple as letting a family member know what time you are going and expected back and where you are putting in and taking out. In case of emergency, others need to know how to find you. Cell phones can’t always get a signal and could get damaged by water.