Be sure you've had the proper training for operating the type of boat you'll be using. Boating courses focused on the needs of power boaters are given by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power Squadron, these groups cooperate in providing a single information number 1-800-336-2628. Classes on canoe and kayak technique are offered by the Red Cross, scouts, and colleges.
Generally, the current is mild in the Mon, but the river can be hazardous during high water. You can check on river conditions by contacting one of the lock masters.
During the late fall through early spring, the water is cold enough to cause hypothermia. Always wear a personal flotation device.
It's a good idea to carry a cell phone. 911 is the emergency
phone number. Because of our wonderful hills, cell phones will not
work everywhere along the river.
Boats with Marine radios will
find them useful in contacting locks, and the Coast Guard. While
Channel 16 is the official Calling and Distress channel, most
operational communications take place on Channel 13. If your radio has
"dual watch" or scanning, monitor both 13 and 16.
The UMWT is not a canoe track, but a navigable river used by many sorts of boats.
Watch out for tow boats and barges! These boats require a lot of stopping and maneuvering space, so stay in the clear. A basic rule is that you should never maneuver you boat into a position where you can not see the pilothouse of a towboat. If you can't see the Pilot, he can't see you!
Watch out for dams! Know your location on the river with regard to each lock & dam. Keep a sharp lookout for the "DANGER DAM" signs and buoys.
Remember: Safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility. Brochures and websites can't take into account a person's level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The Upper Mon Water Trail Committee and our project partners assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trail maps or other printed or web-based materials.