DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is asking people to stay off swollen rivers.
“We encourage all paddlers, especially new and inexperienced paddlers, to stay on lakes and flat-water while the rivers are high due to heavy rain,” says Todd Robertson, paddling instructor and Outreach Coordinator for Rivers Programs at the Iowa DNR.
The DNR says it has received reports of inexperienced paddlers on the Des Moines River who tipped over their boats in the strong current and were rescued by other boaters .
“We’ve rescued five paddlers since May 1st on the Des Moines River during high water conditions,” says Terry Nittler of the Des Moines Power Boat Club. He estimates that about 90% of the paddlers he sees on high water have little to no experience and many are not wearing life jackets.
“Swollen rivers are super powerful and have unpredictable current along with tons of wood debris coming downstream to form deadly “strainers”, said Robertson. “If you get into a situation where you are struggling and fighting the current, the river will win.”
For the latest river conditions, click here or contact your local county conservation board for updates