Safety tips for heading out onto the rivers, lakes and reservoirs in Idaho

River safety tips during early season
Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 11:30:14-04

Idaho rivers are running high and fast, officials are warning the public that the water this time of year is dangerously cold.

"This time of year it is absolutely critical for all boaters to wear a life jacket," said David Dahm of the Idaho Parks and Recreation Department. "The rivers, lakes and reservoirs are absolutely frigid and if you fall in the water without a life jacket there is a really good chance you will be in trouble."

A man is still missing after falling out of his canoe on the Snake River on Saturday, he was not wearing a life jacket.

In another instance two fishermen from Nampa went missing for two days on the Snake River, they were found safe after being located when one of the men turned on their cell phone.

"A lot of these remote areas you can get in trouble really fast," said Dahm. "At this time of year rivers are running really high as well as being cold."

Six on Your Side caught up with some surfers at the White Water Park in Boise, surfers tell us they use their board as a personal flotation device and rely on wetsuits to stay warm, but they also told us they keep a watchful eye on the flows.

Many of the rivers in Idaho have dams, meaning that water levels can fluctuate up and down really fast, the Boise River dropped nearly one-thousand cubic feet per second in one day, then leveled out, but dropped 500 more CFS on Thursday.

The river is currently at 1,500 CFS which is still above the average for this time of year which is 1,130, but that gives you an idea of how flows can change over just a week.

Here is a link the U.S. Geological Survey which has river flows for almost all of Idaho's rivers.

Other safety tips besides wearing life jackets and dressing for the weather include not going out by yourself, tell someone where you are going, know your own limits and check the flows before you go.