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FAQ - Is it safe to swim?


As with the paddling, exercise extreme caution when swimming in the Mississippi. The swimming is dangerous in places, safe in others. When in doubt, don’t do it! If you are uncertain of the current, sit down and watch it for a while. Keep on the lookout for chaotic water movements. The best place to swim is in the shallows along the big sandbars, or in the many inlets created along the sandbars. Back channels are always safer than the main channel. Avoid places where the current is moving fast, and especially where it seems to be pulling away from the shore. Avoid strong eddies, whirlpools and places where violent boils seem to be erupting upward. Follow the rule of twos, always swim with a partner (or more). Even better, designate a “life guard,” one person who will stay on shore and watch out for all others. Trade off responsibility. Weak swimmers should wear a life jacket. We make it our practice at Quapaw Canoe Company to always keep a rescue canoe ready to go at all beach landings, and to have a 75 foot “Rescue Rope” with floating polypro line ready for use.
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