There are numerous spots to wade and splash in the cooling waters of the James River. Spots like Texas Beach and Pony Pasture offer easy access points to walk into the water. Some spots, like Huguenot Flatwater, offer access to calmer water, but the James gets deep there very quickly. Avoid dams and rapids. Be alert to your location on the River, as the James has many currents and up to Class IV rapids and it’s easy to find yourself swept downstream. Always identify a ready landmark when entering the River should you need to call 911 for emergency assistance. The City of Richmond performs several water rescues each year because someone has misjudged the River.
It is recommended that you wear personal flotation devices while boating, fishing or rock-hopping when water levels reach five feet or more. When kayaking or canoeing it is required that you wear a personal floatation device no matter the water level.
The river bottom is uneven, so it’s still possible to get in over your head even when the river level is low. Wear close-toed shoes when in the water, and if swept up by a rapid, float feet first to protect your head until you can swim free.