AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As the weather warms up and people head out on the water, boaters are encouraged to proceed with caution. 

Before heading out on the Savannah River, local officials and experienced water professionals are encouraging people to understand the conditions…and always be prepared. 

“The biggest thing to know is where you’re swimming at the river or where you’re playing on the river,” said Truck Carlson, program coordinator of Veterans for Clean Water for the Savannah Riverkeeper.

Carlson tells us he’s constantly on the water. He says one of the spots to be aware of is the fast-moving water of the shoals on the Savannah River.

“There are a lot of danger points within the shoals,” said Carlson. “There are rocks just below the surface. There are a lot of rocks. If you decide to swim or walk in the shoals- if you get your leg caught and there’s a high flow, you’re going nowhere.”

Andy Colbert of Outdoor Augusta took us out on the water.

“I do warn people – especially this time of year – the water is cold,” said Colbert.

He says that the chill of the water can be shocking to the body if you’re not prepared. 

“And it’s always cold here because of where it comes from underneath the dam,” said Colbert. “It comes from 50 feet from underneath the dam. Even in July, it’s chilly.”

Colbert reminds boaters that there should always be a lifejacket on board and that minors are required to wear one on the water.

“Don’t just jump on a river that you’ve never been on,” said Colbert. “Alone, especially, is not a good idea. You know… you want to take a buddy.”

At his shop, he provides kayak rentals and several resources for boaters of all experience levels.

“Come even just to talk to one of the people like us – Outdoor Augusta, the people at Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental,” said Colbert.

“Use this river,” said Carlson. “This is one of our greatest natural resources in the CSRA. It should be used, it should be enjoyed. But take the precautions.”

For information on flow for the Savannah River, you can visit the American Whitewater website.

For information on Betty’s Branch, view the content guide.