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Stay safe paddling this Memorial Day holiday weekend

  • 5/19/2020 1:29:00 PM
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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds paddlers to stay safe and follow physical distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Getting outdoors after being indoors for such a long time is a fun and healthy option to start summer activities.

"Paddling, biking, running and walking are good for our physical and mental health. Small groups of people can easily keep the proper physical distance while paddling,” said Nate Hogeveen, River Programs Director. “But everyone needs to take extra precautions at the accesses, on the water, and while shuttling.

Help keep you, your family and other paddlers safe by following these physical distancing guidelines: 

1. Limit paddling group size - Paddle with family and friends you know and limit the group to no more than 10. If you boat with people not from your household, limit passengers. Smaller groups will allow for easier shuttle plans. Avoid car loads of people.

2. Maintain 6 feet distance at all times - Spread out to help provide space between you and the next boat on the water. Give those ahead of you plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before you approach. Paddle lakes instead of rivers to eliminate the need for a shuttle.

3. Only touch your own gear - Everyone needs to carry their own gear. After the trip, wipe down gear to disinfect surfaces. Bring along hand sanitizer or wipes.

4. Avoid sharing snacks and water – Drink from your own water bottle and store food and snacks in your personal drybag.

5. Avoid sandbar crowds and “rafting” up together - Tubers are reminded not to go in groups larger than 10 and don’t tie tubes to one another.

Explore the interactive paddlers map at to help plan your trip, Check out the Iowa DNR’s water trail map library at for individual water trail maps, including access points and some history information.