This year, Jackson Hole experienced an abundance of snow, breaking records! So, what does this mean for everyone who loves spending time on the water? Well, with that high amount of snowpack melting off will quickly runoff through the rest of the month June for the next few months making its way down the mountains rapidly. The currents in the water can be much stronger than they appear, and the conditions can change unexpectedly. Knowing how to have fun responsibly on the water is essential, taking necessary measures to remain safe.
Here are the top tips from Recreate Responsibly on water safety:
- Respect Water – Water is powerful. Learn to read water conditions and stay alert. Obey all posted safety signs. Always tell someone your plan when headed out solo.
- Plan and Prepare – Life jackets save lives – period. Make sure every member of your party has one. Lifeguards may not be present in all the areas you are recreating around. Bring essential gear for boats or vessels, like navigational devices and paddle floats.
- Know Before You Go – Check the weather forecast and water levels/conditions before leaving. Cold water can be dangerous, even on days that are hot outside. Learning to be a strong swimmer is the #1 recommendation for water safety.
- Make It Better– All the waterways are home to fish and other wildlife. Help protect the water by leaving the environment around you cleaner than you found it.
- Learn How to Respond – If someone else is in trouble, call 911 and get help. Don’t go in the water to help. To assist others: Reach, Throw, Don’t Go. If you are in trouble: Flip, Float, and Relax.
- Build a Safe and Inclusive Outdoors – Everyone feels differently about being in the water. We can all be safer if we look out for each other. Choose someone to watch over the water when you’re with young children or in a group.
General Safety Guidelines
As you prepare for water adventures this summer, a few things can make your trip safer. Do you know how to understand the river levels in the Snake River Canyon? Are you going with a company with the proper water safety and rescue licenses and certifications? Sometimes, people from other states bring their rafts and get into emergencies on the Snake River, and they have to be rescued. Some rapids are hard to navigate and can be dangerous if you don’t know them well.
The following are common boating violations encountered by game wardens while patrolling
the state’s lakes and rivers: WY Game & Fish – Common Boating Violations
Take some time to learn about the water conditions in your area so you can have fun responsibly. Share your knowledge and the safety measures you’ve taken with your friends and family on social media. With the recent snow and rain, we can all work together to make the Tetons safer for water activities this summer. Especially as the 4th of July is just around the corner, there are more wanting to enjoy the water on rafts and boats to maximize the fun of the day. Remember that water levels and conditions can change quickly, so always remain alert!