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Get paid to paddle on the river as a River Hugger Safety Paddler

May 31, 2021

By Ringleader Willie

This is a newsletter for people who love rivers and water - in particular, our beautiful, yet underdog Willamette River. If you have read this email (and are presently reading this), there's a good chance you have heard of HAP's River Hugger Swim Team.

The River Hugger Swim Team is a recreational protest swim bringing attention to the extreme deficit of water edge access in downtown Portland. It's where recreation, community and activism meet. By city proclamation, we are the city's official open water swim team. We swim daily June 15-September 30th in two heats (7am and 7:45am Monday - Saturday), and swim across the Willamette River with bright swim caps and orange floating bags for safety and visibility, but swimming is dangerous. We need supervision. We need Safety Paddlers. 

Tell me more!

Have you ever fantasized about being a "professional paddler”? Getting paid to be on the water in a kayak or SUP? Or, maybe you like the idea of volunteering for HAP and starting your day off right by having some water time first thing? Why wait until you get off work or weekends to grab that summer vibe?  

So what are the details?

HAP has a storage container where we have two loaner kayaks so all you have to do is show up and get on the water, or bring your own boat or SUP.  We pay $25 per paddler session which means being ready at the dock at 6:45am, grabbing your boat from storage and putting your boat back in storage at the end of the swim (short distance to the river) until about 8:30am – still plenty of time to get into work!  

But wait, I have no training!

No training, no problem, we will train you. The most important piece of safety equipment is your well-functioning eyes and being alert. In rare occasions, a barge or boat may come through and you’ll need to alert swimmers. You also must look out for swimmers showing signs of distress. You will be one of a crew of three safety paddlers led by our River Hugger Manager and two volunteer Hugger Captains.

Thank you for considering joining the front lines of HAP activism and being a safety paddler! 
For more information please email our Hugger Manager, Sabine