River Advice to Paddle By



The three most important things to bring a river trip: training, preparedness, and common sense. They don't weigh anything, they are easy to pack in your boat, and they don't smell bad after an overnight river trip.

Don’t go into the river unless you are dressed to play and get wet. When in doubt, dress for immersion. It is much more important to feel good than to look good. Bring a change of dry clothes in a watertight bag.

The river is always the boss.

No matter how strong you are, the river is always stronger.

Mother Nature plays dirty.

The river gives the test, and then teaches the lesson.


Having rapids named after you is generally a bad thing.

Cold, tired, hungry, stressed-out, intoxicated, high paddlers tend to make bad decisions—even if they are your friends.

Don't paddle it if you can't swim it.

Portaging around a hazard or rough water is easier and more fun than capsizing, getting hurt or drowning. . . so is scouting ahead.

If you are cold, stop to get warm. If you are wet, stop and get dry.

Improper use of rope on the river can kill you. Proper use can save your life.

A real river rescue is not a place for on-the-job training.


Fear is God's way of letting you know he wants you to stay alive.

Pain is God's way of letting you know you are alive.

Pain is temporary. Embarrassment is forever.

With thanks to the Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club.