Now is the perfect time to float the river, but Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says it is also very important to stay safe while doing so. FWP Information and Education Program Manager Vivaca Crowser says summer has arrived, but our water remains cold year-round and there can be dangerous hidden debris.

“Wearing a life jacket is always your best bet, even if you’re on something inflatable on the river, but particularly if you are on a smaller type of inflatable,” Crowser said. “Having that life jacket is really important when you have a little mishap. When you fall off, it is going to buy you the time to get back on to land or to get back on the vessel safely. That is really important.”

According to Crowser, taking your time and scouting ahead are also good practices because rivers frequently change. A lot of folks like to bring drinks and snacks while floating, but that can be problematic when it comes to keeping our rivers clean.

“The communities around western Montana have really come together to try to help keep our rivers clean and that has been a great thing,” Crowser said. “You see a lot of river clean ups. A lot of local businesses have free mesh bags that you can get. Some of our local stores have those available. It is not a heavy thing, the water passes right through it, but it holds all of your garbage. That is a great thing to do.”

Crowser says it is essential that floaters don’t bring glass on the river. Glass can end up at access areas and can cause some serious damage. Have fun and be safe!