The Chemung River is a class one river. Canoeing or kayaking on the Chemung is enjoyable for riders of all skill levels.
Where to rent a canoe or kayak Southern Tier Kayak Tours, Ithaca, N.Y. (607) 220-3642, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.stktours.com – specializes in guided tours and paddling instructions On the River Canoe and Kayak Rentals, Big Flats, N.Y., (607) 215-6692 or email@example.com - rents canoes and kayaks and leads river paddle tours Endless Mountain Outfitters, Sugar Run, PA., (570) 746-9140, www.emo444.com, rents and sells canoes and kayaks and leads river paddle tours, Wilson Rental Center, Corning, N.Y., (607) 962-8611, - rents canoes Summit to Stream Adventures, Watkins Glen, N.Y. (607) 535-2701 – rents canoes and kayaks and leads river paddle tours
Required! One personal flotation device (PFC) per person.
A whistle (or noise maker) audible for a half-mile.
CAUTION! Avoid the dam in Elmira downstream from the Grove Street Launch Site! Portage around the dam along the south shore as marked.
River Advice To Paddle By
(With thanks to the Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club)
The 3 most important things to bring a
river trip:training, preparedness and
common sense. They don't weigh anything, they are easy to pack in your boat,
and they don't smell bad after an overnight river trip.
Don’t go into the river unless you are
dressed to play and get wet. When in doubt, dress for immersion. It is much
more important to feel good than to look good. (Bring a change of dry clothes
in a watertight bag).
The river is always the boss.
No matter how
strong you are, the river is always stronger.
Mother Nature plays
The river gives the
test, and then teaches the lesson.
Having rapids named
after you is generally a bad thing.
hungry, stressed-out, intoxicated, high paddlers tend to make bad decisions -- even if they are your friends.
Don't paddle it if
you can't swim it
Portaging around a hazard or rough water is
easier and more fun than capsizing, getting hurt or drowning. . . so is
If you are cold, stop to get warm. If you are
wet, stop and get dry.
Improper use of rope on the river can kill
you. Proper use can save your life.
A real river rescue is not a place for
Fear is God's way of letting you know he wants
you to stay alive. Pain is God's way of letting you know you are alive.
PLAY SAFE AND PADDLE LONG
Beginner’s basics and reminders for the old hands
Life jackets for everyone!Personal flotation
devices (PFD) are a proven lifesaver. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that a PFD
can prevent eight in ten boating tragedies. Wearing one is the law in more than
half of the states.
a driver. Alcohol figures in roughly
half of the reported boating accidents. Save the alcohol for after the paddle.
your boat’s safe carrying capacity. Capsizing is often the result of overloaded
or improperly loaded boats. Check the capacity plates on your boat or consult
your owner's manual.
a boating basics or refresher course. You're never too old to learn!
Never go on the river during flooding or high water events.
Be aware of rising water levels. Check optimum river levels for boating.
Dangerously high flows can develop very rapidly due to weather and/or dam releases.
Check recent and current river gauge readings on the internet.
If you are at the river, put a stick in the ground at the edge of the
water and wait to see if it is rising or falling. Cancel your trip if
the river is rising.
PFD and Whistle
One Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) is required per person.
Each boat must carry a device capable of making a sound that's audible
for a half-mile (such as an athletic whistle). Operating watercraft
under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal
EXTREME DANGER: AVOID the dam in downtown Elmira East of the Grove Street Site! Portage around the dam along the south shore as marked.
Let family/friends know you are on the river, where you put in, and where you plan to pull out.
Paddle with others. Have an experienced paddler in the group.
Heat and sun: light clothing, sunglasses, hat, sun block and plenty of fluids.
Windy, cool or rainy weather: can lead to hypothermia, even in summer. Wear or bring layers of wool pile or polypropylene. Avoid cotton.
Keep all gear neatly stored and tied when not in use.
Never tie a rope to yourself or another person.
On the River
Obstacles in the river such as rocks, gravel bars, trees, deadfalls,
and dams will form what looks like a "V" pointing upstream (at you).
Avoid these and look for "V's" pointing downstream to take advantage of
the deeper water flowing between these obstacles.
Downed trees (strainers) on the outside of river bends can be dangerous .Look ahead to anticipate and avoid strainers.
If you are about to collide with a submerged object:
lean into it to present the bottom of the canoe to the onrushing water.
Leaning away increases the likelihood that you will roll under, swamp
the boat and get entangled.
If your boat flips over:
Hold onto your paddles and the boat if possible, keep the boat below
you (downstream). Never position yourself down stream of the boat.
on your back with your feet downstream until you reach a shallow, calm
spot or shoreline, then empty the boat and re-enter. Never try to stand
up in fast moving water
Canoeing in rough water: kneel down, keep weight centered and as low as possible
Optimum river levels for boating
Chemung River at Elmira: 1 to 4 feet
Chemung River at Chemung: 3 to 6 feet
Chemung River at Corning: 15 to 17 feet
Cohocton River near Campbell: 2 to 3 feet
Canisteo River at West Cameron: 5 to 7 feet - See warning below*.
Tioga River at Lindley: 4 to 7 feet - See warning below*
* Warning! The Canisteo and Tioga River levels can change rapidly due to upstream dam operations.
Optimum river levels are only recommendations. Variable conditions,
including shallow stretches, are part of the natural character of
Chemung Basin rivers.
Current River Gauge Readings
for the Chemung River Basin. Check current levels and recent trends.
Posted data is not always correct. Use sound judgment and BEWARE OF
RIVER LEVELS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY. All rivers in the Chemung Basin are subject to rapid fluctuations and can rise or fall several feet in a matter of hours.
YOUR SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Chemung Basin River Trail Partnership assumes no responsibility or
liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from
the use of printed or web-based information.
Take Responsibility for Your Safety! Enjoy the River!
Friends of the Chemung River Watershed • 111 N. Main St., Elmira, N.Y. 14901 • (607) 846-2242 • firstname.lastname@example.org