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Make a plan before you hit the water

by | May 20, 2024 | ALLFFP, Fredericksburg, Outdoors

April Peterson from River Rock Outfitter shared the following Rappahannock River Float Plan to guide users on things to consider before ever stepping foot in the water.  

Know Before You Go
At first glance, the river may appear tranquil, but beneath its surface lies potential hazards. Each year, unsuspecting visitors fall victim to strong currents, fluctuating water levels, chilly temperatures, or hidden entrapments. Whether you’re fishing, floating, paddling, or simply seeking respite from a hike, it’s crucial to be informed of key factors — such as river height, flow rates, and weather conditions — before venturing onto the water. Stay safe by knowing the numbers and respecting the dynamic nature of the river environment.  

Helpful Links:
USGS Report Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
What is a Safe Level to Access the River
Fredericksburg, Virginia Tide Chart  

Plan Your Trip
You never want to jump right into a river trip – pre-planning is key to ensuring a safe day on the river!
Pre-planning:
Familiarize yourself with the river’s access and exit points.
Assess the skill level of your group and stick to activities well within your capabilities.
Ensure you have the appropriate equipment, including safety gear and an ample supply of water.
Inform a trusted friend or family member of your itinerary, including your intended route and expected return time.
On the River:
Never embark on a paddle or swim alone; always have a buddy system in place.
Always wear a life vest without exception.
Protect your feet from rocks and debris by wearing appropriate footwear.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your excursion.  

Wear It!
Did you know that you are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket on board your kayak or stand-up paddle board?  Since you have it with you anyway – just WEAR IT!  The Rappahannock River is known to rapidly change in height and flow, so don’t just have a life jacket but always wear it while enjoying the river. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. The good news is that today’s life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight, and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know.   

Helpful Links:  

 

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