The terrain and remote stretches along much of the route make reliable communications difficult. VHF-FM marine radios are the preferred method of communication while on water. These radios will allow you to gather weather information, talk with other vessels to ensure navigational safety, and most importantly, allow you to notify others of trouble. Channel 16 VHF-FM is the international distress frequency and all commercial vessels (and many others) operating on the rivers monitor channel 16. Numerous ëdead spots exist, especially on the Snake River, for both cell phone and VHF communications. Dead spots may not allow you to talk directly to a rescue agency, but other vessels may hear your radio call and be able to offer assistance or relay your distress call. Devices such as satellite telephones and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) do offer reliable communications but are expensive. You may want to consider those options, particularly if you are traveling alone. If you do choose to carry an EPIRB, make sure that it is properly registered. Always file a float plan and include communication devices.

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