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Life Jackets Mandatory for All River Users Due to High Water

Release Date: May 01, 2020

Life Jackets Mandatory for All River Users Due to High Water

Delaware Water Gap NRA News Release
Release Date: April 30, 2020
Contact: Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist; (570) 234-9144

BUSHKILL, PA –Due to high water and rising river levels, wearing a properly-fitted and fastened US Coast Guard-approved life jacket is mandatory for all river users within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Life jackets are required to be worn any time the river level at the Montague gauge reaches 8 feet. As of 5 pm today, the river level is hovering around the 8-foot mark and is expected to crest at 16 feet by Saturday morning before dropping again over the next few days. The Delaware River and all access points are closed when the river reaches 15 feet. The current forecast is for the river to rise through the night on Friday and begin dropping early on Saturday morning. A river closure is not anticipated at this time however river users should monitor water levels closely and be aware of the thresholds. Bushkill Access is closed as of this evening because the service road is expected to be inundated during the day on Friday.

Higher river levels bring colder water temperatures, swifter currents, and increased sediment and debris. The water temperature is currently in the upper 40- to lower 50-degree range.

According to our partners with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, cold water shock is a major factor in boating fatalities when water temperatures are less than 70 degrees F. Cold water shock causes an involuntary gasp reflex (often resulting in aspiration of water), hyperventilation, breathlessness and a reduced ability to control breathing and to swim. Those wearing a life jacket when exposed to cold water have potentially life-saving advantages such as insulation from the cold, buoyancy and reduced risk of aspiration of water. Wearing a properly fitted and fastened US Coast Guard-approved life jacket can save your life, but only if you wear it.

River levels can be monitored at external link.

Updates and additional information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area can be found on our website at external link and on our Facebook page at external link.