Many people cross rivers while tramping or enjoying other outdoor activities. Most crossings are conducted safely and successfully. Unfortunately not all crossings go so well. Each year, on average, three people drown while crossing rivers.
There is some element of danger in all river crossings. Using river crossing techniques can reduce the danger but no crossing can be considered absolutely safe.
If you do embark on a trip that may involve river crossings then you have three crucial decisions to make to reduce the risk from river crossing.
Crossing alone is hazardous and it is not recommended that you get yourself into a river crossing situation if you are alone.
If there are any doubts about the safety of crossing don’t cross – it isn’t worth the risk!
Assess the river.
Never cross a river in flood – 80% of river crossing drownings have occurred when the river has been in flood.
What is the speed of the river, look downstream for run out hazards, are there good entry and exit points?
You should avoid crossing on a bend, above a place where another stream joins the river and where the water is dirty and cloudy.
When crossing always: