Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

07-07-09 Boise Police Train for River Patrols

07-07-09 Boise Police Train for River Patrols

    Boise, July 7, 2009 - Boise Police officers are trained and beginning on-the-water patrols for the summer float season of the Boise River.

    "Safety is our primary concern," said Boise Police Officer Joe McCarthy. Detective McCarthy is a School Resource Officer during the school year and patrols the Boise River during the summer. Officer McCarthy is also the former Undersheriff of Clearwater County, and a former marine deputy.

    "We want to make the float as fun and safe an environment for as many people as we can. Every year the float gets more popular and more crowded. And every year the river changes, the water levels, vegetation, and channels. We need to patrol on the river as well as on the banks and in the parks to keep the float the family activity that people count on and enjoy," said Officer McCarthy.

    Boise Police patrols on the Boise River means officers will float in eight-foot catarafts mainly during the busiest times of the float, afternoons and weekends. The officers will carry throw bags for rescues, and be in full duty gear while on patrol.

    "We're out here to be proactive, to keep accidents from happening" said Det. McCarthy. "We do that through education."

    "We make contact with just about everyone on the river, about 100 contacts per day for each officer. State law allows us to contact people to see if they have the proper safety gear," said Det. McCarthy. "People often don't know they need to carry life vests if they're in a raft, and children need to be wearing their life vest. We want to be sure people know the safe boating laws apply here on the river. Because of the currents, cold water, and snags and brush on the riverbanks, boating safety may be even more important on the river."

    Boise Police officers on patrol on the river are also trained in basic river rescue techniques. 

    "If someone needs help, because we patrol here, we're often the first to get to them. If we can, we'll try to get them to a safe place, and call the Fire Department Dive team to rescue the person. The Fire Department is very quick to get here, but we hope we can prevent the mishaps in the first place," said Det. McCarthy.

    Boise Police began raft patrols on the Boise River in 2005.


What every floater should know!

The Boise River is truly a gem for Idaho's Capital City. We at Boise City want the river to be a beautiful, fun and safe place for all citizens to enjoy.

The Boise River is also a wonderful inner-city habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. We encourage people to enjoy the river while preserving its natural beauty.

From fishing to floating, picnics to parks, more people are using the Boise River than ever before.

The following is a list of tips, rules and laws that will help make your float down the Boise River safe and fun for you, your friends and family.


Barber Park is the starting point for most Boise River floaters. Barber Park is an Ada County Park, located 6 miles from downtown Boise on Eckert Rd. between Warm Springs and Boise Ave.

Raft and inner tube rentals are available at Barber Park through Epley's Boise River Rentals. Free air stations available for floaters to fill their own rafts and tubes.

Rest Stops:

The Boise Parks & Recreation Department has established four rest stops along the main floating route between Barber Park and Ann Morrison Park. Each stop includes trash receptacles with regular pickups. The River Quarry site includes a port-a-pottie; permanent restrooms are located in the stops at Julia Davis and Ann Morrison Parks. The map on the left designates the floater rest stop locations. Directional signs approximately 100 yards before each rest stop will indicate site amenities available.

Rest stop locations:

River Quarry is located on the left hand side of the river just before the Marden Bridge (Baybrook Court Bridge). Site has restroom and trash facilities.

The popular Marden Bridge (Baybrook Court Bridge) site is located on the right side of the river and is currently used by numerous floaters. Site has trash facilities.

Julia Davis Park site is located on the right side of the river. Trash facilities are located behind the site and restrooms are available across the road near the bandshell.

Click on Image to Enlarge


Ann Morrison Park, which is 6 miles downstream from Barber Park, is the take-out spot for floaters.

The Boise City Parks and Recreation Department has developed two take-out spots to relieve congestion -- both on the left side of the river-- on both sides of the footbridge.

Restrooms, trash and recycling bins are available for you to use at the take-out.

Parking & Shuttles:

Floaters can park inside Barber Park or at Ann Morrison Park.  A shuttle runs regularly between the two parks visit Epley's for more information.

All floaters and those using Boise area parks are asked to be a good neighbor and not park on nearby residential streets.

For safety, some streets around Barber Park are posted as No Parking Zones. Violators face a $25 fine.

Life Vests:

Idaho law requires anyone 14 or under to wear a life vest in any water craft 19 feet or smaller, including rafts.

All floaters who are not strong swimmers are urged to wear life vests.


Open containers of alcohol are not allowed on the Boise River, or in Boise City parks within 250 feet of the river, as posted.

Beer and wine are allowed in city parks outside the 250 foot riverbank zone, unless otherwise designated. Permits are required for individual possession of beer/wine of more than 7 1/2 gallons (pony keg = 7 3/4 gallons, 3 cases = 6 3/4 gallons). For more information, log onto Boise Parks & Recreation. A Beer/Wine Permit can be downloaded and submitted in accordance to rules and regulations as outlined on the application.

Glass Containers:

Glass containers of any kind are illegal on the Boise River or in Boise Parks. Please carry your beverages in plastic or aluminum containers.

Litter and Recycling:

No one wants to see litter in the river. Littering is illegal.

The Boise Parks & Recreation Department has provided trash and recycling bins at the rest stops and at the take-out in Ann Morrison Park for your use.

Got cans? Recycling centers are set up at the three rest stops along the river.

You can make a difference! Please use the trash cans and recycling receptacles along the river. At the 2007 Riversweep clean up day, volunteers picked up around 11 yards of trash, 60 pounds of aluminum, and 30 pounds of plastic.

Boogie Boarding:

Boogie boarders can tie up to stakes or posts that they provide along the river downstream from Ann Morrison Park.

For safety reasons, boogie boarding is not allowed between Barber and Ann Morrison Parks (potential conflicts with rafters), and boarders may not tie up to trees or bridges.

Bridge Jumping and Camping:

Bridge jumping and camping are not allowed on the Boise River or in Boise City parks.

Best Times to Float:

Mornings or early afternoons are quietest along the river. Late afternoons and evenings are very busy.

Other Safety Tips:

All floaters are encouraged to wear tennis shoes for safety and comfort.

Floaters are urged to watch for overhanging branches or swift currents that may cause rafts to overturn.

Floaters should call 9-1-1 if they see a life-threatening or emergency situation.

Floaters should not operate a raft, tube or other watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.