This paragraph/disclaimer was originally in rec.backcountry FAQL, but it was so good, I though I'd leave it. What's true on the trail is doubly true on the river.

"Books are not a substitute for skill, nor can they make safe those who do not practice the principles of safety. Books are not substitutes for training. We do not wish to discourage people who have age old urges. But they can answer simple problems and questions. It is urged that the inexperienced avail themselves of instruction, training, and mentorship. We would counsel you remember the virtues of progressive training."

In other words, don't go to the library, get "How to Kayak Class V and Live to Tell", buy a kayak from the REI catalogue, and go for it. Not that anyone would be foolish enough to do that...

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