ETC River Safety Talk


  • People
  • River
  • Equipment
  • Paddling
  • Safety


Have each person introduce themselves, and share past river stories if any. Discuss expectations, fears, etc.


Describe the river, degree of difficulty, environmental awareness, river etiquette.


Life jacket: check proper fit, brief description of how it works. Boats: the difference between paddle and oar powered; how to care for them (a clean boat is a happy boat, etc); how to properly sit in one; necessity of watering them down; demonstrate a throw bag and what to do and not do when one is thrown.


Proper way to hold one, proper stroking; how to use your whole body; emphasize no water fighting with one (good way to knock someone's tooth out). If you swim, try to hold onto the paddle.


  • Strainers: explain what they are and importance of staying clear of them.
  • Swimming: demonstrate proper position in the water (feet down stream, rear end up, backpaddling with hands for direction, etc); listen to the guide; show how to pull someone back into the boat; point out what an eddy is, that swimmers should swim for an eddy if the situation allows for that and swimmers should always look around for other boats and be ready for throw bags coming their way.
  • Flips: explain that if participant is in a flip they should get out from under the boat, stay clear of it and listen up for information coming from other boats.
  • Wraps: demonstrate the river dynamics involved; describe the function of a high side.
  • Heat exhaustion: discuss importance of drinking lots of water; briefly describe common symptoms.
  • On-land hazards: stress that most accidents happen on land, that participants should keep shoes on at all times and need to watch out for poison oak, snakes, slippery rocks, etc