Sit. Rep. #154: Water Crossings – II, Hazards vs Safety

1- Surveying the water crossing point:

  • Look and walk downstream to see if there are any hazards.
    Stream or river junctions where currents become unpredictable.
    Downed trees, undercut rocks or banks, “washing machine” eddies, waterfalls, low water dams. Snags and strainers kill!
    Change in current speed caused by narrowing of the banks.
    Steep, slick, icy, or snowy unclimbable banks.
  • Read the water just like you were running the river.  But your decisions are based on hiking not boating.
  • Is the water too cold to endure?  Will this crossing lead to hypothermia for anyone in the group?
  • Avoid Snow Bridges!
  • Is the risk worth it?  If not turn around or find a safer place to cross.
  • Make your decisions based on the weakest person in the group.

2- Logs, rocks, boulders, and low bridges tend to be unsteady, wet, slick, and slimy.  Ask what will happen if someone falls?

3- Sometimes the choice is between swift shallow current or deep slow current.  Choose based on your judgement and skills.  Be careful either way.  A reminder: that flat water floats you better than foamy turbulent water.  Reread Sit. Rep. #52 about foaming water.

4- The water current speed and level may change during the day based on temperatures melting snow & ice upstream.  Or rain upstream.  Or dam water release.  Put these into your safety equation.

5- A straight stretch of river is a safer place to cross than close to a river bend.  Remember snags and undercuts are more frequent in and around a bend.  And the current changes in unpredictable ways.


6- Meeting Plans and Notes:
Review all water safety measures.

Safety a Float.

Safe Swim Defense.

I: Did you know the Norwegians put bar codes on the side of their naval ships?
J: So they could Scan-da-navy-in!
K: What kind of hair does the river have?
L: Wavy.

Be smart & safe,

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