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Water Safety

Blueway Preparedness and Safety

Blueway adventurers should note the risks involved in water activities, especially along the Roanoke River Blueway. This path traverses isolated areas, making it hard for emergency services to reach quickly. Users must acknowledge their responsibility for their safety. This includes being prepared for the journey with essential safety equipment like life jackets, first aid kits, and ways to communicate. Additionally, it’s vital for users to know their own abilities and limits, avoiding activities that could be too challenging. Safety first ensures enjoyable adventures on the Blueway.

Emergencies: Call 911

Blueway Safety: Understanding State Law and Best Practices

  • 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

Water Level

Water levels on the Roanoke River Blueway are significantly influenced by precipitation events and can vary considerably 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 for additional information to facilitate a safe and enjoyable Blueway experience.