mountain river whitewater

American Whitewater Pens New Safety Guidelines for River Runners

Plan on paddling rivers or whitewater this season? Refresh yourself on the latest responsibility code and safety guidelines.

Today, the nonprofit American Whitewater released a new responsibility code for river runners “based on time-tested guidelines for recreating on our rivers,” wrote American Whitewater.

The new guidelines are part of a full program called Paddle Wise, developed by American Whitewater in partnership with NRS. “Be your best self on the water and help protect, restore, and maintain access to our rivers!” declares the Paddle Wise webpage.

“The goal is to create a simple and shareable responsibility message for the increasing number of individuals participating in whitewater recreation,” American Whitewater wrote.

Similar to National Park’s “Recreate Responsibly” hiker code or the “Know Before You Go” skier code, Paddle Wise is the river recreation-specific equivalent. The code covers seven main principles: knowledge, preparedness, safety, environmental awareness, respectfulness, inclusivity, and Leave No Trace.

“With a surge in river running participation, we decided it was time to dust off the basic guidelines for paddling responsibly and re-present them for those not in the know, and for those who should know but maybe forgot,” the nonprofit announced.

If these spiffy new guidelines aren’t a reminder enough, remember: It’s always a good idea to check your safety gear and make a plan before you head out on the water.

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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.