The 58th annual Yellowstone River Boat Float is this weekend (7/9 - 7/11) and organizers are warning boaters and floaters that low water levels on the river will greatly slow your drift speed this year. In a post this week on the Yellowstone Boat Float Facebook page, a participant shared water volume data from USGS. The website reports the Yellowstone River near Livingston is running 62% below average for this time of year.

Young woman with red sunburned shoulder - sunburn concept
Credit: andriano_cz

Low water levels will make a long day on the river even longer.

The three-day float kicks off Friday in Livingston and organizers are saying the Livingston to Big Timber leg of the float will likely take 10 hours (or more), thanks to low water volume. Unless you are an early riser and a die-hard floater, they're encouraging participants to consider launching in Big Timber. Or, if you insist on starting in Livingston, exit the river at Springdale and catch a shuttle to Big Timber.

Credit: moisseyev
Credit: moisseyev

Forego glass bottles for aluminum cans.

A reminder to bring canned beverages instead of glass to Boat Float. No matter how prepared you are, tons of coolers get dumped into the river every year and I'd rather have lost cans on the banks and bottom of the river, instead of broken glass. Of course you're planning on picking up all of your litter, right?

Courtesy (R) Waterhole Saloon, (L) Tiffany Satre via Facebook, used with permission
Images courtesy (R) Waterhole Saloon, (L) Tiffany Satre via Facebook, used with permission

The fun doesn't stop when get off the river for the day.

Boat Float is one giant party, both on and off the water. The Otter Creek access near Big Timber will have live music by Sanctuary on Friday night, courtesy of Thirsty Turtle. In Reed Point you'll get 100 Proof on the stage at the Waterhole Saloon.

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Don't forget to reserve your shuttle.

Experienced Boat Floaters are familiar with the importance of booking a shuttle service to get back to your car at the end of the adventure. In addition to the shuttle companies, the Sweet Grass County DUI Task Force is sponsoring a shuttle from the Big Timber American Legion parking lot to Otter Creek on Friday. You can find details on the Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

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