River Hazard & Safety Guidelines

Kayaking, Canoeing and Tubing are pleasurable recreational activities. Here are some guidelines and tips to help mitigate the inherent risks of river sport (see our waiver). Your wise choices and prudent actions are the key to a safer and more enjoyable day.

Wear your properly fitted and securely fastened Personal Floatation Device (PFD) at all times while on your river trip.

Clothing and Personal Items: (Remember despite your best intentions you will get wet!)

  • Wear closed toe sports sandals, sneakers or river booties at all times. Your shoes will get wet.
  • Dress for the water temperature: Antietam Creek is chilly year round. Appropriate clothing may include: quick drying synthetic base layers, fleece or neoprene, rain shell. Generally cotton is not recommended but in very hot weather t-shirts and bathing suits may be appropriate.
  • Sunscreen
  • Eyeglass straps for sunglasses and prescription glasses. Nose clips for whitewater kayak lesson.
  • Secure your electronics, car keys, cell phone, wallet in a waterproof dry bag. (Not a zip lock bag). Or lock everything in your car and leave the keys with us at the Outdoor Center.
  • Tie everything into your boat with very short straps or cords: Water bottles, lunch in a waterproof dry bag, extra clothing.

River Hazards

  • Water temperature: Dress appropriately.
  • Strainers (downed trees, limbs, debris, tree roots and root balls along the bank – that allow the water to pass through but can trap a person or watercraft). Stay away from all downed trees and root balls.
  • Watch out for any upcoming hazards to have plenty of time to avoid them
  • Avoid foot entrapments by not standing up or walking in fast moving shallow water. Assume either the aggressive or safe swimming position with feet up and downstream.
  • Stay upstream of your canoe or kayak if it should flip. A boat full of water can weight 1,000 lbs.
  • To avoid capsize lean your canoe or kayak into obstruction (rock, bridge pier, log).
  • Use good body mechanics when emptying a swamped boat. Float boat to shore. Turn it upside down. Rock the water out.
  • Keep an eye on the sky for upcoming weather chances. Use proper lightning protocol. Some steps to follow in case of thunderstorms –Get out of water secure crafts move away from shore line if possible-spread out-sit on boat or pfds-stay away from the tallest trees.