Water Safety Checklist
Know Before You Go
- Check the Weather in the area currently and for the past 24-hour upstream of where you are paddling
- Wear a Personal Flotation Device
- Don’t Paddle Alone
- Dress for the water temperature, not outdoor temperature and understand cold-water safety: http://www.coldwatersafety.org/nccwsRules3.html
- Check locations of Low head dams in your area on DNR website https://www.in.gov/dnr/outdoor/9419.htm
- Keep Your Distance – 250 ft below & 400 ft above
- No swimming above and below dams
- No fishing above or below dams
- No anchoring above or below dams
- Be alert – water speed and levels rise rapidly
- Get out – never go over a dam. Water spilling over a dam creates a hydraulic effect that can pull & trap a boat or swimmer to the face of dam holding them hostage
To fully understand and find value with the USGS Gauging Stations, become familiar with the streams you are paddling.
USGS info page: heres the link and an explanation on how a beginner can interpret the page: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/in/nwis/uv/?site_no=03351060&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,62614,00010
Check the gauge on the stream near where you want to paddle: beginners to this process, should look only @ the CFS (cubic foot per second) measurement. This shows current river flow now and within the past 7 days
The next step is look at that chart every time you plan to pass the stream near that station, or shortly after you pass it so you get a feel of what that CFS number looks like.
For those who Paddle frequently, keep this data as a reference and by using this data frequently a visual memory will develop. This will help with understanding the river flow for that CFS number relating to the river gauge.
Be A Dam Champion
Low head dam and river safety video—excellent teaching video: a survivor is interviewed. (14 min)
Over Under Gone: The Killer In Our Rivers
Descriptive Low Head Dam video featuring the family of a low head dam victim. (30 min). A teaching documentary.
Cold Water Boot Camp
Cold Water Shock— How to survive