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.
- Talk to local kayakers for information specific to the waterway you plan to paddle. (Check the Keepers of the Shiawassee Facebook page)
- Check weather and conditions before you paddle - including relevant river flow levels
- 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.
- The American Canoe Association offers a Top 10 Safety Tips to follow before paddling and also has a Paddler’s Safety Checklist before heading out to the water.
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