River Safety Reminders Before Summer Begins

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DELAWARE WATERGAP - Businesses along the Delaware River are expecting big crowds to head out to enjoy the Poconos this Memorial Day Weekend.

But with the river running high lately - comes a warning to be careful.

The Delaware River looks rather inviting - a warm 60 degrees just in time for Memorial Day Visitors.

But owner of Chamberlain Canoes here in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area says - the river is still a little rough.

"Water levels have been slightly above normal, we`re expecting a little bit of higher water throughout the weekend but hopefully it doesn`t turn people away," said Chamberlain Canoes owner Brad Sweeney.

They have the canoes out - hoping to see lots of people taking advantage of the holiday weekend, but those people may have some stricter safety rules to follow.

"They`re probably going to have mandatory life jackets this weekend, no swimming, wading only, and definitely be careful if you are along the edges of the river," said Sweeney.

The nearby Pack Shack is getting ready too - under new ownership.

"We have kayaks, canoes, tubes and rafts," said Pack Shack co-owner Savannah Vanderhoef.

Vanderhoef said they're accepting bookings now for the weekend, but want their customers to be wary of the potential water dangers.

"You just want to make sure you take the safeties that we give you before you go out on the river serious.  You need to wear your life jacket, don`t try to swim across the river," said Vanderhoef.

If the water levels here along the Delaware River go above 15 feet, the National Park Service will shut down all kayak and canoe rentals, making sure to keep all visitors safe this memorial day weekend and all summer long.

When the river hits as high as eleven feet - there are restrictions as well.

"Eleven feet we`re rafts only and generally if you are in a private boat, please use caution," said Sweeney.

Kayak and canoe businesses along the Delaware River said with the right preparation - there's nothing to fear - while enjoying all the park has to offer.

"As long as you take it serious and you`re paying attention, then you`re going to be fine," said Vanderhoef.