Boise residents and first time floaters keep in mind life jackets, a good raft, and a set mindset.  The river recently opened for the 2022 rafting season. The Fire department is urging people to stay safe on the river. Division Chief Special Operations Paul Roberts for Boise Fire Department “says he” wants people to have a great time, but they need to be arranged.  “Have a great time but come prepared. A good raft, life jackets, and [urges] that your mind is set on floating the river.”


Roberts says the Boise river is a force of nature. “With the natural river comes all the hazards associated with it.” Roberts added. “As we move into the mid part of the summer. The river’s moving pretty good still this late into the season.” He continued, “the river is still moving around 1300 cubic feet per second, this is pretty fast.” That's over 886 Miles Per Hour. 


On weekends and holidays the Boise Fire Department team is pushing 30 calls a day which is more than regular days. Whether those were emergent calls or whether those were developing public assist calls.. Even though the Boise Fire Department is mitigating hazards on the river. Roberts explains, “We can’t just cut everything down to make it 100% safe. We don’t mitigate all of the hazards.  So we’ll emphasize that the river is never 100% safe. There’s no lifeguards on duty.”


Those 14 years of age and under it is required by law to have a life jacket on and openly the fire department highly recommends the same for the adult floating population, “have a life jacket either on or close.” It can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. As families float along the river look ahead and watch what’s up ahead. .  


Keep a look out for bridges with pillars coming up, paddle away from the bridge pillar. Watch ahead for overhanging trees that are going to hang  up the rafts, paddle up out of the way. That stuff will create a problem for floating the river. 


River riders need to Factor weather conditions like rain, thunderstorms, and even wind can affect the safety conditions on the river” Roberts says and follows with, “Wind can sometimes bring some of the trees along the river down and we haven’t been out there to check that out.” 


 The Boise Fire Department encourages the public not to tether their Rafts together; it's not a safe practice. Roberts Urges, “Although it seems really fun to take Rafts and tie them together. It’s problematic. Floaters will get caught in and around bridge pillars. One raft goes one direction the other raft goes on the other side. Pretty soon everybody’s toppled over, they’re in the water. Some don’t have life jackets developing into an emergency.”


Take some basic precautions or preparedness things to be ready for that recreational float. Paul Roberts adds, “People need to be cognizant that the water is still very cold so even a very good swimmer can have problems. Particularly, if they’ve been drinking. The fire department discourages drinking on the river. which, we highly discourage drinking on the river.Boise Fire highly discourages anybody from drinking on the river, or trying to float over the low head dam down the river in Anne Morrison park. As Roberts reveals, “That is a recipe for disaster, it’s dangerous even for the fire department to operate in. So we ask the public to stay away from the low head dams.”


Boise Fire Department on standby.

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