Pro Tip: Prepping For The River Season
With the days nice and long, the temperatures warming up, and the snow starting to melt it is almost river season. Unless you spend the winter months on the river your first day on the river may be coming up soon. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your first day on the water isn't a flop.
Inflate Your Boat
For those that keep their boats inflated and on a trailer full time you could skip this step. However, if you keep your boat deflated this a really good idea. Mice and other small critters have been known to enjoy snacking on hypalon. Your friends will never let it down if you show up day one and your boat won't hold air.
Check your Safety Gear
Hopefully you cleaned the snack wrappers out of your PFD pockets last fall. If not now is the time to clean things up. Check all of your carabiners to make sure they are in working order. Think about adding some lube of replacing them if they are a bit sticky. I also like to replace my sunscreen to make sure I have a full bottle to start the season off with. This is also a good time to evaluate the life of your PFD. While some see a sun faded well used PFD as a badge of honor, it is actually just a sign that it should be replaced.
Make sure you go through your safety kit and check your rope, carabiners, and prusiks. Hopefully your hardware isn't sticky since it probably lives in a dry bag and isn't in a constant wet/dry cycle.
Check Your Frame
If you have a breakdown frame make sure all of the bolts are not only present, but tight! Make sure you check your oar towers and oar locks are all set up.
This is also just a good time to give any welds a once over to make sure everything is solid. Don't forget to check any straps, drop bags, or other accessories are ready for the season.
Check The Repair Box
Everyone has a slightly different repair box. However, make sure you check expiration dates on things such as glues/adhesives. An expired glue could be a dried up block which isn't very helpful when trying to make an on river repair. Also you may need to refill some cleaners, restock brushes and other supplies, as well as add a new roll of duck tape.
Restock First Aid
PFD pockets and first aid kits seems to be the place to collect the most trash. Clean out those band aid wrappers and restock everything. Also a good time to make sure things such as lighters, thermometers, and headlamps still work. This is also a good time to toss out any expired medications you may keep on hand. This is also a good time to make sure you have a CPR mask to protect your self in a rescue scenario.
Now is the perfect time to start getting you and your gear ready for what looks to be a busy river season. Don't forget your permits, invasive species tags, and any other important paperwork you may need. See you on the river.