The Bow and Elbow Rivers have been altered due to last summer’s flood, including changed river flow, compromised rivers banks, and natural and household debris that was swept up and is now deposited in the rivers and along the riverbanks. Due to these and other hazardous conditions the Calgary Fire Department is re-issuing a River Safety Advisory, recommending that all Calgarians exercise caution when considering going on the city’s rivers.

“There are many new and unknowns hazards in and around the Bow River,” said Deputy Chief Ken Uzeloc with the Calgary Fire Department. “The City has made great efforts to address these hazards prior to the upcoming rafting season, however there are many that still remain. Metal and concrete debris, as well as all kinds of items swept up by flood, can be a real danger to a river-rafter.”

Just after the flood of 2013, The Calgary Fire Department issued a river advisory due to increased water flow and river hazards. That advisory, from June 2013, is being re-issued, as river hazard conditions still exist.  

In addition to raising awareness of these new hazards, the Calgary Fire Department would also like to remind river users that river conditions change daily and can be dangerous year-round. All river users should use caution and make themselves aware of water levels, temperature, current, visibility and all hazards in the water that can catch, trap or overturn boats or rafts.

There are several City of Calgary construction and development projects happening along the riverbanks that river users should be aware of this year. These projects are listed on The City of Calgary’s interactive map[b1]  under the “flood recovery” tab.  

The Calgary Fire Department advises all river users to scout, assess and decide from shore, before going on the water.

  • SCOUT the river for potential hazards.
  • ASSESS the level of danger and
  • DECIDE if it is safe to proceed.

Anyone going on the river is reminded that wearing a properly fitting lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is the law.

More information is available on river safety at www.calgary.ca/fire.

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