What would you do? What would you do if you are floating down the Snake River or kayaking in a blow-up kayak and find your floating device getting a little lighter and smaller as air deflates? As your device begins to sink, depending on where you are in the river may determine your choice of actions. Being in a calm area can make things easy, but being in a current or the deepest part of the river, may make things more difficult. How good of a swimmer you are, if you have a life vest, and who you are with can all be deciding factors. If your kayak, innertube, or blow-up paddle board have betrayed you, what would you do?

Stranded in the Snake River

Photo by Benito Baeza
Photo by Benito Baeza
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Kayaking, paddle boarding, and floating in an inner tube or some blow-up device are common on lakes, streams, and rivers in Idaho. What do you do though when one of them pops, takes you down a current, or begins deflating when you are nowhere near shore? The simplest answer is to grab a life vest and prepare for the worst, but what if you decided to be a rule breaker and not have one handy or left it in your car by mistake? If you are without a life vest, do you go down with the device, do you jump ship and swim, or do you yell and scream like the world is ending? There are a few different choices, but what is the best way to go?

What to Do if You Are Sinking or Stuck in a Current

Credit: VW Pics
Credit: VW Pics
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If you find yourself in this situation, you can leave the floating device and try to swim, but if you are in a current and floating downstream, if you don't have a life vest it may be best to hope the device holds up long enough to get it over towards shore or near somebody else that can help you. You can sit and wait it out and see what happens, but you take the chance of losing any kind of control, but the water could calm and lead you to more shallow water eventually, buying you time to figure out a plan. It is a situation you don't want to be in and is tough to know what to do without being in it. No plan can prepare for you the emotion of being stuck and having the water around you. Swim, wait, float with a life vest, yell for help, these are all possibilities and neither is right or wrong until you find yourself in this situation and have to decide quickly. 

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I recently found myself out of a kayak stuck in a current and logic went out of my mind. I held onto the kayak and was able to get to the shore, but grabbing my life vest would have been the best option. If my blow-up kayak had been deflating, I would have put on the life vest, paddled towards the shore, and stayed on the device as long as it would hold me. At the final moment, I would eventually abandon ship, but only when it is clear that it can't hold me anymore. Without a life vest, I would do the same thing and hope to be in more calm water before I have to get in. If you find yourself on a sinking device and stuck in the middle of a deep river in a current, what would you do? 

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