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River safety reminder

For immediate release: June 22, 2018 - 10:43am
FR18-111

The South Saskatchewan River is a constantly moving water course. Citizens and visitors experiencing the recent hot temperatures are reminded that Bylaw 4433 prohibits swimming in the South Saskatchewan River within city limits.

The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency also forecasted that water levels will drop by an average of one metre in the coming weeks.

“The South Saskatchewan River is unpredictable and dangerous,” says Assistant Chief Wayne Rodger. “With changing currents and water levels, both the bank edges and riverbed are considered extremely hazardous.  Obstacles such as fallen branches, broken concrete, and discarded debris can pose a threat to anyone or anything in or near the water.”

The Saskatoon Fire Department requests boaters taking to the water make certain the vessel is in good condition.  Boaters should practice what to do in the event of an emergency before going on the water, wear an approved personal floatation device, monitor weather conditions, leave a travel plan and obey all local laws and regulations.

Additionally, The South Saskatchewan River is equipped with a weir to alter the flow and discharge of water along the river; this barrier produces a powerful backwash of water that is capable of trapping objects and people.

The weir is not a recreational feature of the South Saskatchewan River, it must never be approached and should only be viewed from a safe distance.

In the event that you witness someone in distress in the river, the Saskatoon Fire Department would like to remind you of the following tips for helping others in distress:

  • Call 911 immediately to report the incident, noting details about the individual, time, and situation
  • Keep track of recognizable landmarks around the area where the individual was first seen in distress in the water
  • Coach the individual from the shore edge on the below noted tips for water self-rescue

In the event that you are in distress in the river, the Saskatoon Fire Department would like to remind you of the following tips for water self-rescue:

  • Stay calm; Don’t fight the current
  • Keep your head above the water
  • Move with the current as you work your way to the shore edge
  • Remove any heavy or bulky clothing items

Always be cautious near larger bodies of water. In an emergency, call 911 immediately.