Caution advised for Kenai River boaters

Posted: Friday, July 06, 2001

The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation advises all boaters on the Kenai River to take extra safety precautions during this time of high water. Unusually swift currents and cold waters can make boating more challenging and dangerous than normal.

Everyone should always wear life jackets when on the river and watch for floating debris such as logs, trees and other things. State Parks reminds parents that state law requires that all children ages 13 or younger must wear approved life jackets any time they are in a boat.

High water conditions also have increased bank erosion on the river.

Chris Degernes, Kenai area parks superintendent, said, "We have heard from a number of Kenai River landowners who have been experiencing unusually high levels of erosion on their river banks and have asked that we educate boaters to be considerate of their boat wakes during this high water time."

Power boaters are asked to use the center of the river whenever possible, so boat wakes generated by their passing will diminish by the time they hit the river banks. Running powerboats right next to a riverbank causes more erosion, as the full wake energy is directed at crumbling soils of the riverbank.

Maintaining the natural vegetation along the Kenai River is important not only for preserving private and public property, but also for keeping fish habitat healthy. Unnatural erosion caused by powerboats is seen as an increasing threat to maintaining healthy riverbanks along the Kenai River, according to an advisory from State Parks.

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