Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Caution Urged on Calgary's Rivers

Video showing changes to the Bow River after the flood.

Calgarians are reminded that although water levels have dropped, conditions on the Bow and Elbow rivers continue to pose a considerable risk for anyone on the river who is not prepared for the conditions.

“Should you choose to use Calgary’s rivers, please exercise extreme caution,” said Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux, Calgary Police Service. “The ever changing conditions of Bow and Elbow Rivers demand respect and we encourage anyone who chooses to go on the water to take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety.”

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 poor, obscuring hazards and obstacles just below the surface.

“There have been several rescues over the past couple of weeks,” said Deputy Chief, Ken Uzeloc, Calgary Fire Department. “While both rivers are accessible to the public, CFD deems them still a danger and therefore we continue to have an advisory out on both bodies of water.”

All 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. Use caution in and around Harvie Passage as conditions have not allowed for a full assessment to be completed. Please use the portage on ‘river right’ to exit the water as river channels have dramatically changed in this area.

It is safest to stay away from river banks and avoid going in or near the water, especially with children and pets.

River users always need to take the proper safety precautions and follow all laws and regulations. Any vessel using the rivers must, at the very least, have lifejackets or PFDs that are worn by all passengers, as well as an attached sounding device, such as a whistle, a buoyant heaving line (throw-bag) no less than 15 metres long and a bailer container. Rafts should never be tied together.

Being intoxicated while on the water is never tolerated, nor is the transport or consumption of alcohol.

If you see someone in or on the water in distress, please call 911 immediately.

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