Paddling Safety

  • Wear a properly fitting life jacket
  • If you haven’t done so, take a boating course and a paddling course
  • Check the weather before you leave
  • Dress for the weather. Layers are best
  • Avoid boating alone because there is more safety in numbers
  • Leave a float plan. Tell someone where you’re going, when you’ll return, and who is with you. When you return, remember to let that person know
  • Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Carry an extra paddle and a whistle to alert passersby in the event of an emergency
  • Carry extra clothing in a waterproof bag so that it stays dry
  • Keep your weight low in the boat. If you change positions, keep one hand on the boat
  • If you capsize, stay with the boat and hold onto it if it is safe to do so. If you are in a current, move yourself to the upstream side of the boat
  • Keep hydrated by drinking non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages
  • Stay near the riverbank
  • Make yourself visible and watch for other boats as they may not see you
  • Stop only in designated areas
  • Portage your boat around areas that you do not feel safe
  • Keep all of your lines secure and never tie a rope to yourself or anyone else
  • Do not become complacent about the river

Homeland Security

  • Observe and avoid restricted areas near dams and power plants
  • Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges or in the channel
  • Watch for anything that looks suspect or out of the ordinary. Report all activities that seem suspicious to the Sheriff 509 447-3151

Washington and Idaho Boating Regulations

  • For more information on Washington’s boating education, licensing requirements, and safety, visit Adventures in Boating Washington: or contact the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission at (360) 902-8844.
  • For more information on Idaho’s boating education, licensing requirements, and safety, please visit Adventures in Boating Idaho: or contact the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation at (208) 334-4199.

Stewardship and Involvement