Like all rivers the Winooski is a living river shifting channels, fallen trees, rocks, and banks can create dangers for the canoeist. Trees that pose a hazard at a bend in the river one year may move downstream or disappear altogether next year. Use good judgment and always paddle with caution.
Although you do not have to be an expert canoeist to safely paddle the Winooski River (except on the upper most reach and in all gorges), some rudimentary skill is recommended; the river tends to carry you into potential dangers unlike the still water of a lake. Be aware of your boating ability, and don' t attempt to canoe a stretch of river if you know it is beyond that ability. Most good paddlers learn skills gradually, and attempts to advance too quickly will compromise your safety and equipment.