April 2, 2017

Delaware River safety advisory issued by National Park Service

BUSHKILL - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area officials are reminding visitors that wearing a properly fitted, United States Coast Guard-approved lifejacket is currently mandatory for everyone recreating on the Delaware River. 

“A lot of people are excited to get back out on the river now that winter appears to be behind us,” said Superintendent John Donahue.  “The National Park Service just wants them all to be safe whether they are fishing, boating, kayaking or canoeing.  Wearing a life jacket is the one thing that people can do to give them the best chance at surviving a sudden, unexpected fall into the water, especially when the water is cold.  And it is the law.” 

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations require lifejackets to be worn during cold water season, from November 1 to April 30.  More information on PAFBC regulations and the dangers of cold water immersion can be found on their website:

Even people walking on the shoreline, including anglers, should wear a lifejacket.  In the spring, the water tends to run high and the slopes leading to the river can be muddy and slippery, making it easy to inadvertently slip into the water. 

“Mandatory wear” regulations are in effect in the park anytime the river level at the Montague, NJ, gauge reads 8’ or higher;  the NPS closes the river corridor and all access points when the river level reaches 15’. 

“We keep our eyes on the river levels throughout the year, but this time of year it is especially important as levels fluctuate, the water remains cold, and visitors are starting to use the river more,” said Donahue.  The river level may exceed the 15’ threshold over the weekend. Current river levels can be monitored at:

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