Partners in Water Safety remind citizens to stay safe on Calgary’s waterways
The recent hot weather has drawn large crowds to Calgary’s waterways. The City of Calgary’s Partners in Water Safety would like to remind Calgarians this August long weekend that where there’s water there’s risk.
Partners in Water Safety is a collaboration of the Calgary Fire Department (CFD), Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Calgary Community Standards.
“Accidents can happen even when you do everything right,” said Carol Henke, CFD Public Information Officer. “The importance of lifejackets, even in shallow, slow-moving water, cannot be exaggerated.”
In addition to wearing lifejackets, Partners in Water Safety are reminding Calgarians that consuming drugs and/or alcohol on Calgary’s waterways is strictly prohibited.
“Alcohol and drugs impair your judgement on the water much like it does on the road,” said Staff Sgt. Shawn Wallace. “With all the unexpected situations people can encounter on the water, impairment from drugs or alcohol will make it that much more difficult to react.”
Police and Bylaw officers will be on Calgary’s rivers throughout the summer to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial statutes.
For Calgary Community Standards Inspector Cheryl Townsend, enforcement is the first step to saving lives.
“Many people don’t realize what’s at stake when they venture out onto the water without mandatory lifejackets,” Townsend said on the need for education around consequences. “A ticket for failing to wear a lifejacket entails a mandatory court appearance and up to $500 in fines.”
Henke stressed the importance to being prepared for anything on the water, advising rafters to be aware of the river’s course and new features like the Harvie Passage and the standing waves near the 10 Street Bridge.
Henke also urged users to monitor conditions and avoid the river altogether during high-flow advisories, “Stay alert, be prepared for water hazards and learn to swim—it can save your life.”
Partners in Water Safety encourage all water users to familiarize themselves with safety practices and bylaws on calgary.ca/watersafety and check flow levels at rivers.alberta.ca.