Floating to the Drift

Call or click your way to Randy's Bluffton Store for information on canoe and/or kayak rental & shuttle service.

Have your own? Click HERE for information on paddling the Upper Iowa River.

Canoe Safety Tips

Planning to Paddle? Know Your Limits!

Keep these safety tips in mind to ensure you have an enjoyable time on the water.

  1. WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET: Make sure it is properly fitted and on at all times. Expect to capsize and swim occasionally when paddling a canoe or kayak.
  2. Be a competent swimmer.
  3. File a float plan: Let folks know where you are going and when you can be expected to arrive.
  4. Assess your boats flotation needs.
  5. Carry a spare paddle.
  6. Always dress for the unexpected flip.  Try not to wear clothing too weighty or loose fitting to prevent it catching on branches or other river debris.
  7. Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid current unless reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim it in case you capsize.
  8. Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. 
  9. Be aware of weather conditions: Watch for fog and storms, and be mindful of maintaining daylight.
  10. Know your emotional and physical limitations.
  11. Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.
  12. Respect the rights of anglers and land owners when paddling.
  13. Know the Conditions including river depth and current.
  14. Remember to watch for water and weather. 

Possible Items to Carry for Safety:
  1.  A Compass and Chart or Map
  2. Whistle or Sound Signaling Device
  3. Throw Bags And Other Rescue Gear
  4. A “River” Knife
  5. A Bilge Pump And/Or Bailer
  6. Self-Rescue Devices (Paddle Float /Sling / Tow Rope)
  7. SunScreen
  8. Drinking Water & Snacks
  9. Light / Signal (for low light conditions)
  10. Proper Footwear
  11. UV Eye Protection
  12. Drybag with extra clothing
  13. Appropriate Clothing
  14. First Aid Kit with Matches
  15. Small Repari kit with Duct Tape
  16. VHS Radio and GPS Locator
  17. Hat

Practices, Ethics and Conduct
    • Never litter. Always pack out trash.
    • Conduct all toilet activity at least 200 feet from any body of water 
    • Do not disturb wildlife.
    • Minimize impacts to shore when launching, portaging, scouting, or taking out.
    • Avoid building campfires, except in established fire rings or in emergencies.