Meramec River
floating safety tips.

(ALWAYS put safety FIRST)

The precepts listed below will help insure that you and those around you have a safe enjoyable experience of the Meramec. Most of them are just plain common sense guidelines, but are listed anyway because sometimes (especially during the excitement of having fun or while under the influence of alcohol etc.), a personís common sense may leave him/her. Please, when in - on - or around the river, keep the following points in mind:

  • Lifejackets and other floatation devices are for your protection, in Missouri there must be a floatation device for each person in your craft, and children seven years old and under must wear a floatation jacket or vest at all times.
  • If you don't know then LEARN HOW TO SWIM FIRST! Just a simple back or breast stroke can save your life!
  • Don't take unnecessary chances, anyone who is not a strong swimmer, feels apprehension on the water, is overly intoxicated, and all children should wear a jacket or vest. If you step into a deep hole or get swept away by current don't fight it! Swim/float on your back with the current, feet first, and make your way to the nearest bank.

  • Never dive or jump into water that you havenít checked for proper depth and underwater obstructions.

  • Avoid swimming in fast water, use the slow spots and backwaters for play.
  • Avoid swimming near logs, snags, logjams and other objects in which your feet, legs, arms or clothing could become entangled.

  • Never sit or lay in your craft with your arms or legs under the seats, thwarts, or other fixtures (especially children). Be easily able to swim free of your craft should a spill occur.

  • Steer your craft well clear of other crafts and obstructions in the water, if a collision is going to occur grasp the sides of your craft and use your weight and balance to attempt to keep the craft upright.

  • If a spill does occur, donít try to swim against the current, swim or float feet first with the current to the nearest bank (use your feet to avoid snags, logjams and other objects). River currents, like weather, are unpredictable. When a river current carries you, roll over onto your back and with feet first do go downstream. When you feel that you are out of the damgerous part of the river current, quickly swim toward the shore for safety.

  • Keep your gear in watertight containers that are firmly attached to your craft.
  • Bring a well stocked dry-bag with disposable rain poncho's, first aid kit, fire starting kit and dry clothes.

  • Get off of the water during severe electrical (lightning) storms.

  • Donít take a float that is too long for the amount of time you want to spend, most people enjoy a leisurely trip more than a hurried one. Floating times vary according to the type of craft, river conditions, and how hard you paddle:

  • 5 miles nonstop in a canoe = 2 - 3 hrs.avg. (Light paddling).

  • 5 miles nonstop in a raft = 4 - 5 hrs.avg. (Light paddling).

"Enjoy and appreciate the river and outdoors, but do so wisely and safely, obey the laws and drink in moderation."

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