Thursday, July 18, 2013

River Safety Reminder

Debris, water clarity and other obstacles make navigating the Bow River difficult at this time. Please use caution.
On July 16, 2013 the ban on the Bow River was lifted. However, the Elbow River still remains closed. The City encourages people to act responsibly when participating in any water-related activities. Your safety and the safety of others should always be top of mind.

Due to the recent flooding, there have been significant changes to the stability of riverbanks, increasing the danger of being on or near them. Debris in the water poses an extreme hazard and water clarity is low, obscuring hazards and obstacles just below the surface. Conditions on the Bow River continue to be dangerous and pose a considerable risk for anyone on the river in any type of watercraft. Rafters, boaters and paddlers need to be aware of water levels, temperature, current speed, and river hazards including bridge abutments, trees and other large debris in the water that can catch, trap or overturn vessels.

Bow River users will need to familiarize themselves with the altered river channels as previous river knowledge may no longer be relevant. Substantial changes in the river will necessitate the need and ability to react quickly in order to navigate hazards.

Some water safety tips are:

  • All river passengers should be wearing a life jacket or personal floatation devices (PFDs) on the water 
  • All river users should be prepared for a variety of conditions 
  • All river vessels should have a sounding device such as a whistle, a buoyant heaving line (throw-bag) no less than 15 metres long and a bailer
  • Being impaired while on the water is never tolerated, nor is the transport or consumption of alcohol
  • Recreational river users should exit the river in advance of Harvie Passage and re-enter the river downstream of the rapids

Calgarians planning to use the Bow River are reminded that the rapids at Harvie Passage are for advanced and expert-level white water paddlers only. Expert level rafters traversing Harvie Passage require an appropriate white water vessel with hand grips, a first aid kit, wet / dry suits, helmets and life jackets.

For more water and river safety information, please visit and search for waterway or river safety.

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