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December 26, 2014
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‘Don’t worry, be happy’

By Kevin Reish

Have fun relaxing and floating in your life jacket as you enjoy the river this summer. It’s a safe way to float around and have fun. We hope you and your family have a great time while visiting the beautiful Upper Delaware River!

The Upper Delaware River region offers many places for people to get outside and enjoy nature and boasts some of the finest recreational opportunities in Northeastern United States. The area is teeming with lakes, streams, rivers and waterfalls that draw people to go swimming, boating and fishing. This year we all experienced a long hard winter here, and now people are excited to get back outside and enjoy all the river has to offer.

The National Park Service (NPS) on the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River would like to remind all water users to follow these safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while recreating on the water:

Wear a life jacket. They are called life jackets because they save lives! On the Upper Delaware River there has never been an individual who has drowned while wearing a properly fitted and securely fastened life jacket. All boaters are required to have life jackets with them. The NPS strongly recommends that all boaters wear their vests but that swimmers wear them, too. Please make sure that your life jackets are Coast Guard approved and are in good condition. Children 12 years old and younger must be wearing their life jackets at all times while boating on the Upper Delaware. Set a good example for all children and wear yours, too.

Learn to swim. Many organizations offer swimming lessons; contact the American Red Cross for a course near you. Never overestimate your swimming ability. Even good swimmers can struggle in the strong currents of the Delaware River.

Most drownings occur while swimming. Swim only in established life-guarded swimming areas, never swim alone, and never attempt to swim across the river. If you choose to swim or wade, simply wear a life jacket. More than 50% of drownings that have occurred on the Upper Delaware River are swimming-related, and all of the victims had one thing in common: they were not wearing a life jacket.

Be aware of hazards. Strong currents, sudden drop-offs and other conditions create unexpected hazards in the river. If caught in the current, try not to panic. You should swim across the current until you are able to easily swim toward shore or float on your back with your feet pointed upwards using your arms to guide you. Never try to stand up in swift moving water.

Don’t underestimate the river