Lady Bird Lake ‘River Sense’ Program

Become a Friend of the River

Lady Bird Lake River Sense Program offers 12 ‘river sensibles’ that will help keep you safe while enjoying the river. After carefully reading each ‘river sensible,’ challenge your River Sense by taking the River Sense Quiz.

Learn these 12 ‘river sensibles’ and test your River Sense knowledge!

1.   All paddlers must have a Personal Floatation Device (or PFD) with them. If they are 13 years old and under, they must wear a PFD the whole time while on the water. We suggest less experienced swimmers do so as well.

2.  Be respectful of the river, yourself and others – don’t litter! Clean up after yourself, your friends, your family and your pets. Always leave the river cleaner than you found it.

3.   All watercraft or paddlers must have visible lighting on them between dusk and dawn to increase their visibility. A biking light attached to your shirt or paddle is sufficient.

4.   Big boats are harder to maneuver than small boats. The least maneuverable boat has the right-of-way, stay right pass left. Slower/Smaller boats stay closer to shore. Faster/Larger boats keep to the center.

5.  Be considerate of nature. Do not touch or disturb wildlife, including plants.

6.   By City of Austin ordinance, due to the possibility of drowning, swimming is prohibited in Lady Bird Lake; due to unseen underwater hazards that can cause severe injury, diving and jumping from bridges are also prohibited.

7.   Stay off of the water when a thunder storm is present. Wait at least 30 minutes before returning to the water after the last strike of lightning.

8.   Be Aware, Be Prepared. Check weather and river conditions. Dress appropriately and, when needed, use sun protection (i.e., hats, bandanas, sunscreen lotion). Always wear shoes that stay on your feet in the water. Leave all electronics and valuables at home, or secure in a dry bag.

9. Reduce your chances of flipping; stay low in the boat to maintain a low center of gravity. If your boat capsizes, stay calm. Maneuver yourself and the boat closer to shore, out of the current and away from other boats.

10.   Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to stay hydrated, preferably one with electrolytes; eat when needed, in order to maintain strength and energy; and plan toilet breaks.

11.  Learn to control your craft by familiarizing yourself with the boat operating instructions.

12.   Anticipate others’ actions and communicate your response to others. Be predictable so others know how to maneuver around you. Look both ways before changing directions.