Sit. Rep. #155: Water Crossings – III, Planning and Choices

1- When planning y0ur backpacking trip; please note if you are planning to do a water crossing.  A waterproof backpack that is prepared for a soaking rain is very different from a waterproof backpack that goes in for a dunking swim.  Plan and prepare your gear.  Pack accordingly.

2- Unbuckle your waist belt and slightly loosen your shoulder straps.  Then, if you go for an unplanned swim you can get out of the two shoulder straps very easily and not drown.

3- Consider entry and exit points.  Avoid steep, slippery, mud/mush, ice/snow, on the river banks.

4- Use your staff to probe the bottom prior to stepping.  Hold the staff upstream.  It will break the current and make it easier to cross.

5- With your staff as the 3rd point of contact to the bottom; move only 1 foot or your staff at a time.  In other words… Have your staff firmly planted before moving either of your feet.  You should be sidestep shuffling across the water facing upstream leaning into the current and your staff.  Do not place one foot in front of the other (like when you walk).

6- When crossing in a group, figure out the 2 strongest in the group.  One of the strongest should be first and the other should be last to cross.

7- If the crossing is dangerous enough that it requires using rope; practice and study and practice using a rope.  ( I will not cover these techniques.)

8- Other techniques, but not covered here, 2, 3, or 4 person crab, build a raft, swim across, floating, flotation aids, or inline crossing.  Here is a link to some of these techniques.  

Here is a link on safety.

9- BE CAREFUL and SMART and WISE to judge if, how, when & where to do a water crossing.  Be SAFE!

10- If the choice is to cross the water and then make camp (before dark), then do it.  If the weather changes to rain overnight then you may not get across for days on end.

M: Do you know what is the largest room?
N: The room for improvement.
O: Why did the farmer’s daughter like the baby boy cow?
P: It was adora-bull

Semper Paratus,

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