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December 08, 2016
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‘Don’t worry, be happy’

The National Park Service strongly recommends that all boaters wear their life jackets even when seemingly tranquil waters beckon. The same is recommended for all swimmers. Fifty percent of the drownings that have occurred in the Upper Delaware River are swimming related.
Contributed photos

Many people do not consider that the Delaware can be very dangerous when they boat, wade, or swim. When it is sunny and warm, they are thinking only of pleasure. They don’t realize that although the scenic river looks beautiful, its currents are powerful and can easily sweep away even a strong swimmer. Hidden rocks and eddies pose additional dangers. Fighting against the river’s flow, a swimmer quickly becomes exhausted. It is better to drift along and slowly make one’s way to shore.

The National Park Service has partnered with the National Safe Boating Council and their “Wear It!” campaign, so if you are SWIMMING, BOATING, FISHING OR FLOATING, wear your life jacket.

High water = mandatory life jackets

Regulations for mandatory life jacket wear are in effect on the Upper Delaware River anytime the Barryville gauge reads six feet or higher. The National Park Service suggests that you ‘know the flow before you go.’ To check current river conditions, call the river hotline at 845/252-7100, or visit our website at To learn more about Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, please call 570/685-4871.

[Kevin Reish is National Park Service water safety program manager. Every summer he can be found out on the river keeping an eye out for problems and promoting safe boating practices in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.]