Blueway users should be advised of the inherent dangers associated with water-related activities. Portions of the Roanoke River Blueway flow through relatively remote areas with limited access for public safety personnel and equipment. Blueway users are responsible for, and assume full responsibility for, their own safety.

Emergencies: Call 911

Safety Tips

  • State law requires a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (i.e., life jacket) for each person in the water craft, including canoes and kayaks (all paddlers under age 16 must wear a life vest at all times).
  • Check water level and weather conditions/forecast prior to starting your trip
  • Make certain that all participants are fully capable of participating in planned Blueway activities
  • Ensure gear and equipment are suitable for river conditions, forecast weather, and is in proper working order
  • Inform others (family, friends, or colleagues) of your plan including starting and ending points and expected return time
  • Remain aware of their location at all times using access points, geographic coordinates, and reference points (bridges, roads, landmarks) for use during emergencies
  • Enter and exit the Blueway at designated public access points
  • Obey all “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs
  • Be aware of all river hazards and required portages

Virginia Department of Health Guidance
Safely Enjoy Virginia’s Natural Waters (brochure)
VDH Issued Swimming Advisories – Frequently asked Questions

Weather, Water Level, and Water Safety
Water levels on the Roanoke River Blueway are significantly influenced by precipitation events and can vary considerable over short periods. Blueway users should check river conditions, streamflow, and weather conditions as a best practice in planning any Blueway outing. See the Water Level and Weather  pages for additional information to facilitate a safe and enjoyable Blueway experience.