Before You Paddle the Shiawassee River

It is Michigan State Law that you wear a properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket (Type I, II, III or IV PFD) for each person on board your boat.


Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Research/scout out your trip and paddle water appropriate to your skills. Not all areas of the Shiawassee River are suitable for beginners.
  • Dams are hazardous and can be deadly. Learn to recognize them – not all are marked. Always portage around dams.
  • Look out for and avoid possible hazards such as overhanging or submerged tree branches, a high volume of water, unpredictable currents, low water temperature, and other craft.
  • Always tell someone about your plans, including where you intend to kayak and when you expect to be back.


Be Considerate and Kind

  • Respect other’s experience and enjoyment of the river
  • Travel and park on durable surfaces to reduce impact to natural areas
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find (unless it’s trash!)
  • Respect wildlife