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Invasive Species Sticker Assistance: 1-888-922-6743 (M-F 8am to 7pm MST)

Invasive Species Sticker

Download a brochure about white water safety

Download a brochure for new paddlecraft owners

Safety tips

Follow these guidelines to make your trip safe and fun:

Pick an appropriate stretch of river

  • Match your skills and experience to the class of river using the Scale of Difficulty. The Scale of Difficulty rates a rapid by the level of skill needed to navigate its obstacles and to survive an accidental swim.

Dress for an unexpected swim!

  • Cold water can rob you of your strength, impair your ability to swim and cause hypothermia.  Wear a wetsuit, drysuit, nylon or fleece layers — never cotton!

Use proper equipment

  • Coast Guard approved white water life jacket (Type 3 or 5).
  • Helmet
  • Cold water protective clothing (never cotton) and protective footwear
  • Throw rope, whistle, knife

Keep your group close together

  • Prepare a float plan and rescue strategy
  • Remember: the safety of your group is only as strong as your least experienced member

Recognize and avoid hazards

  • Look for fallen trees, low hanging branches
  • Rocks and undercuts
  • Powerful water hydraulics

Swim aggressively or defensively

  • Away from hazards, toward calm water, shore or raft
  • Avoid undercut banks and rocks
  • Point feet up and pointed downstreams
  • Use arms to maneuver
  • Don’t stand up!  Fast water can entrap your foot, between rocks, push you over and pin you under the surface.

Self rescue

  • If spilled, check your partner, get upstream and swim to safest shore
  • Leave the boat only when it will improve your personal safety
  • If rescue isn’t likely, if the water is numbing cold or if a worse set of rapids is approaching, swim to the safest shore.

Idaho, the “whitewater state”, is a river-runner’s dream. But there are risks associated with whitewater paddling.  

people on water water raft

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