The Calgary Police Service Marine Unit is gearing up for its busiest weekend of the year.
More than 6,000 people are expected to paddleboard, kayak and float down the Bow River over the August long weekend.
Police are on the lookout for a few key things, and during a ridealong, Global News saw all of them.
If you’re on the water, you need a personal flotation device (PFD), rope, something to bail out water and a sound device that can signal for help.
Those not wearing PFDs are not allowed to continue down the river. Fines for not wearing a floatation device can reach up to $500.
While Transport Canada regulations only require enough PFDs for everyone on board, Calgary bylaws require people to wear them at all times on the water.
Alcohol and cannabis also have to be left onshore.
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While CPS has not seen a lot of cannabis on the water, several alcoholic beverages were seized during checkstops on the river Thursday.
It might not seem like a big deal on a sunny day, but police warn things can change in a flash.
“It can happen to anybody at any time,” Sgt. Alasdair Robertson-Moore said. “With that windstorm on Saturday, freak wind conditions managed to flip lots of boats. A lot of people ended up in the water unexpectedly.
“If you’re not wearing your life-jacket, things can go very wrong, very quickly.”
Despite fewer people using the river this year because of less-than-ideal floating weather, the CPS Marine Unit has conducted 27 rescues already this season.
In 2018, the marine unit only conducted three rescues.
With more people on the river this weekend, there will be more enforcement.
Along with the police boat, Calgary Fire and Alberta Fish and Wildlife will be out on the water, checking in to make sure everyone is enjoying the Bow safely.