Both rivers unsafe
With Stampede in full swing, the Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Police and Animal & Bylaw Services are reminding Calgarians to stay off the rivers in the city of Calgary, even if you’re feeling the heat at the Stampede grounds.
“The advisory against boating on the Bow and Elbow rivers remains in effect because the risk to being on the water is significant to both recreational users and emergency responders,” says Fire Chief Bruce Burrell. “We hope that this advice will be taken seriously by anyone considering using the rivers. We do not want to see another preventable tragedy.”
This weekend, CFD crews along with Calgary Police officers, including the CPS Marine Unit will be in the vicinity of the Bow and Elbow Rivers to ensure that anyone who opts to enter the dangerous waters has taken appropriate precautions.
“Education and enforcement are important aspects of river safety, particularly when conditions are so dangerous. All Calgarians should take this advisory seriously, and make the appropriate decisions based on the risks,” says Chief Rick Hanson of the Calgary Police Service. “Calgary’s rivers, including the Harvie Passage, command your respect.”
Boaters, rafters and anyone using the waters are urged to use extreme caution and to be aware of the risks. The conditions on both Calgary rivers can change quickly and all users should be prepared for a variety of conditions. Wear a life jacket or personal floatation device while on the water. Any vessel using the rivers must, at the very least, have lifejackets or PFDs that are worn by all passengers, as well as a sounding device, such as a whistle, a buoyant heaving line (throw-bag) no less than 15 metres long and a bailer. Being intoxicated while on the water is never tolerated, nor is the transport or consumption of alcohol.
“Animal & Bylaw Services is working closely with our partners at the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Police Service to ensure river users are educated about water safety on the Bow and Elbow Rivers,” says Bill Bruce, Director, Animal & Bylaw Services. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure river users are safe and respectful of the law, the environment and other citizens.”
Due to the increased water levels and flow rates, the hydraulics may be increased on the advanced and expert rapids at Harvie Passage. Everyone using the river should get out of the Bow River before hitting the rapids.
Also, Calgarians are also urged to exercise caution around river banks as the fast-moving water can cause the banks to collapse.