Tuesday, May 28, 2013

River thoughts

The Colorado river below Austin has been a well kept secret for years. Bastrop has seen a ton of growth in the past 5-8 years. With growth comes people. With more people, we have more boat, kayak,canoe, and tubing traffic on the river. Its great for our community. It brings in people that want to spend money at local businesses, but it also creates another problem, that I am fixing to talk about.. Like any body of water this river has dangers, very subtle dangers that get people in trouble fast. This past memorial day weekend we had 19 canoers camping on an island that did not pay attention to the weather, and when the river rose over night their canoes floated away while they slept.  They had to be rescued.  We also had a couple in a canoe with a child that got sideways and capsized as they hit a log. Our game warden just happenned to be close by and responded and all is well.

Accidents like these will happen more and more as more people get on the river. Our game warden writes more tickets for no life jacket than anything else. Nobody wants to think about their boat flipping or what to do when it happens, but a simple life jacket can mean the difference in driving back home that night  or getting a ride to the morgue that night.  Below are my tips to stay safe on this river

1. Have life jackets for everybody
2. Watch the weather. This river can rise suddenly. Austin water gets to Bastrop in 18-22 hrs.
3.If your unfamiliar with this water take somebody that knows it.
4. Take a phone. Put it in a ziplock
5. Never get sideways in a boat canoe or kayak when in rocks, riffles or tight cuts.
6. Know what your get out point looks like before you get on river
7. If you rent a canoe or kayak or tube, ask the people you are renting as many questions as you can about the trip you are taking.
8. If you are floating, stay away from the bank especially in current.
9.  If you or someone you are  with is in trouble, dont go after them, call for help immediately
10. If you end up out of your boat canoe kayak,dont panic,dont swim into the current, try to stand up. If you cant stand do not freak out, just gently swim down stream and across current until you hit the bank or can stand. Panic drowns a many of people.

Our local game Wardens are very active on the water, but they cant be everywhere all the time

Respect the water you are on and it will give you the trip you wanted. Loose that respect and bad things happen very fast.


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