Read on for our 'must-have' list of safety items in order to ensure the safety of all those things:
5 Key Safety Items
Your life jacket should be worn AT ALL TIMES. Even when the water looks calm, there's stuff boiling down below under the surface. In a matter of minutes, the water can become unstable, a tree might shoot out of the water (awesomely referred to as a "sawyer"), or a boat might brush by you. While on the river, you'll hear enough horror stories for motivation to keep the life jacket on. Promise.
After your life, your canoe and then your gear are the most important things. If you flip your watercraft, you should have access to a floating rope so that you can more easily grab onto and maneuver the watercraft out of danger/ on to land. If your rope doesn't float, it may be much more difficult to catch up with your canoe and find the rope to pull the canoe to shore.
You WILL get water in your canoe, and that's when a bailer comes in handy. You can make it out of anything (pop bottles, milk jugs, etc..), but it's essential that you tie the bailer to your canoe so you don't lose it if a tip does occur. Bailers (and also small sponges) are also helpful when rain water starts gathering in your watercraft. In addition, a general rule when water starts entering a canoe: if water gets up to your ankles, you don't have much longer until the canoe flips--bail that water out.
Once you have saved your 1) life and 2) canoe, now it's time to get your gear. If you have flipped your canoe, your gear will have fallen out of the canoe, but if you've got everything in sealed dry bags, the gear should remain afloat. If you can afford it, you should purchase dry bags for all your gear so that the gear will always float and will always be dry.
Heavy rain, bitter wind, and the sizzling sun will alternate as your worst enemies depending on the day, so proper attire is a must. Before you leave, check the average weather temperatures for the time of year you will be on the River and plan for the absolute worst. It is essential to keep your head, hands, and feet warm, so bring a winter hat, gloves (both warm and waterproof if possible), and extra socks.
Sun protection is also important, so bring a wide brimmed hat, a lightweight long sleeve shirt, capris, and suntan lotion.
'10 (lesser known) Must-have River Items'