Boating Safety

All visitors want to enjoy their river outing. To assist, we have prepared a few simple guidelines that help reduce risks and protect the natural resources. All members of your party should be familiar with the following basic safety information.
  • Seasons
  • Life Jackets
  • Swimming
  • Secure Your Load
  • Be Prepared
  • Boat Responsibly

  • Seasons
    The Deschutes River can be enjoyed year-round by both powerboaters and floatboaters who are prepared for the weather. The most popular months are May through October. Summer months are usually hot with temperatures often reaching 100F. However, temperatures can also be cold during these times, so be equipped to avoid hypothermia. River flows vary daily, but are commonly higher during the spring and early summer. Both high and low flows can pose special hazards for boaters. Read the water carefully!
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    Life Jackets
    State law requires that each vessel carry one Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person onboard, and children age 12 and under are required to wear their life jackets. Boats 16 feet and larger must carry a throwable floating device. Common sense dictates that everyone wear their life jacket while on the river, especially while navigating rapids.
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    Swimming
    If you fall into the water, float on your back looking downstream with your feet in front of you to cushion against rocks and other obstacles. To avoid foot entrapment, never stand up in moving water that is more than knee deep. Always stay on the upstream side of your craft to avoid being pinned between your craft and other obstacles.
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    Secure Your Load
    Secure your gear and avoid leaving loose ropes or straps in which a person could become entangled. Do not overload your boat with more gear or people than your craft is capable of carrying.
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    Be Prepared
    Always carry the proper safety equipment and know how to use it. Throw lines and a fully equipped first aid kit are recommended. Remember to always scout rapids that you are unsure of or cannot see.
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    Boat Responsibly
    Boating and alcohol can be a DEADLY MIX! The effects of alcohol result in the inability to react safely and quickly to dangerous boating situations. Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This law applies to both floatboats and powerboats.
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