Everyone rows

Reminders can be a pain. I certainly understand. If you’re anything like me, you lean on the ignore side of reminders more than the take action side.

But there are some reminders that simply should not be ignored and when it comes to safety, we should all listen. We raft with a lot of different families throughout our summers here in Colorado. Some have more experience on the water while others want to simply enjoy an afternoon float or an easy overnighter on the river.

The Grande Ronde River in northeast Oregon flows through lands that are privately owned and others administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

The thing I’ve seen, and am also guilty of until recently, is when families hit the water it’s often the one person who rows. Maybe they’re the type that likes to have control on the river, maybe the primary rower likes to avoid handing out snack after snack on the way down river or maybe it’s simply because the other adult doesn’t want to row at all. Whatever the reason it’s important that the other adult on your boat knows how to properly row especially if you’re going to be doing more multiday trips.

Let’s say one of you gets hurt at camp on a 60 plus mile river trip. Someone is going to have to row for you if you are unable. The same reason we love river rafting is the same reason why everyone should know the basics of rowing. It’s extremely remote and access to medical care is challenging at best.

The San Juan River from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, Utah.

I’ve posed this question to my wife before and believe that she could safely get us down river without me needing to help but it hasn’t always been that way. The more we get on the water the more I encourage her to challenge herself in the rower’s seat. She certainly enjoys rowing but when the water starts moving and there’s a lot going on in and around our boat, she tends to get a little anxious.

The only way to cure that is by more experience on the oars.

So let this be your reminder as you get out on the water this spring and summer. Take the time to teach everyone in your boat. If anything it will allow the primary rower plenty of time to fish or, in my case, hand out more snacks.