Carry a map of the river with you, and know the location of dams and other hazards. If you are unsure of conditions ahead, pull to shore and scout. Some breached dams must be portaged due to exposed rebar and other hazards! View Maps and Guides
Use PFDs. All boats must carry an approved life jacket for each person. State laws require children 12 years and younger to wear PFDs at all times. PFDs must be worn by all Sep. 15th - May 15th (MA) and Oct. 1st - May 30th (CT). Learn more why Life Jackets Matter
Always secure your boat, don't simply "beach" it. River flows are affected by operations at dams, and water levels can fluctuate several feet without warning . For river flow forecasts call TransCanada’s toll free hotline: 1-800-452-1737.
Be aware of river flows before your trip. Especially during the spring and during the fall, flows can rise significantly. Check the flow forecast prior to your trip.
Be prepared for cold water Wear your life jacket, stay fueled and hydrated, avoid cotton, pack a change of clothes in a dry bag, and know the symptoms and treatment for hypothermia. Learn more
Don't drink untreated river water. Bring your own water, or plan to filter or boil river water before use. In some locations, you can check the status of the river's water quality before your trip.
In an emergency call 911. Consider purchasing a Hike Safe card. Not only will you support NH Fish and Game's Search and Rescue program, the card provides insurance from liability for repay rescue costs due to negligence. Knowing your GPS location will significantly reduce rescue time.
Bring a cell phone or, even better, a personal locator device. (Learn more) Warning, cell coverage is not reliable, especially north of Lancaster! Coverage maps: Verizon, ATT, Sprint , T-Mobile
Obey all warnings near dams. Buoys may not be present early or late in the season! Be especially careful when launching or landing immediately downstream of dams. Water may rise suddenly, creating dangerous currents or sweeping away beached boats
Share your route Leave their itinerary with a friend/family member. Sign into registers when you pass them - if a rescue was necessary, it can help narrow down your location.
Banks may be slippery; watch your footing!
Beware of poison ivy; which is common along the river in MA and CT. Know how to identify and treat.