• Wear your life jacket even when swimming. Most drownings occur when boaters stop and swim. Never swim alone! 
  • Do not overestimate your swimming ability. Do not attempt to swim or wade across the river. The Illinois River has strong currents and steep drop-offs. Swimming becomes more difficult with increased current and water depth. Even the strongest of swimmers should be extremely cautious! 
  • Wear shoes to protect against glass and rocks. 
  • River rocks can be very slippery. 
  • Never tie your life jacket to your boat. 
  • Do not stand in your boat. Kneel while going through rapids; you will be less likely to capsize. 
  • If you capsize, don't panic. Save people first! Retrieve boats and equipment only if it can be done safely. 
  • Always stay with your group. 
  • Guard yourself against sunburn by wearing a hat and light clothing and by using sunscreen with a high rating. 
  • Cold water and/or weather can cause hypothermia.
  • Check river conditions and flow levels prior to putting on the river.
  • Stay hydrated! Bring plenty of water. Do not drink river or stream water; even clean water can have natural bacteria. 
  • Alcohol and rivers are a killer combination! Alcohol can enhance heat-related illnesses and slow your response in an emergency. Laws on underage drinking, possession and use of illegal drugs, disorderly conduct, and littering are strict.