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Saskatoon Fire Department urges water safety in South Saskatchewan River

Saskatoon Fire Department urges water safety on the South Saskatchewan River. Brent McGillvray / Global News

The Saskatoon Fire Department is reminding residents about the importance of practicing water safety on and around the South Saskatchewan River.

It says the river can be fun and relaxing but safety should always be number one.

Brian Conway, Fire Marshal in Saskatoon, said the river can shift so it’s important to know what you’re going into.

“We have a sand bottom here that the currents tend to move the sand bars… one day you might see a sand bar, the next day you don’t,” said Conway.

Conway said a personal flotation device or life jacket is required for everyone entering a watercraft.

Read more: Prairie Lily sailing the South Saskatchewan River to begin summer boating season

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Saskatoon Fire Department says there a few things to know before you go:

  • Check water currents
  • Plan your route
  • Check weather conditions
  • Inspect your watercraft

Conway said knowing your surroundings is important when operating a watercraft.

“If you see somebody kayaking or on a board and you’re in a motorized craft, be aware of wakes, not too close to other people”.

Conway also said anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not allowed to operate a watercraft.

According to Saskatoon Fire Department, operators should use proper river etiquette such as:

  • Driving at a safe speed
  • Maintaining distance from others
  • Have proper markers and lighting
  • Care for the environment by properly launching, fuelling, starting, and loading watercrafts

The fire department also reminds residents to stay away from the weir due to its capabilities of traping objects or people.

Read more: 7-year-old boy dead after being pulled from South Saskatchewan River

Swimming is not allowed in the South Saskatchewan River within city limits. Walking or wading through the river is allowed but Saskatoon Fire Department recommends wearing protective footwear when walking along or in the river.

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In a scenario where someone is in distress in the river, Saskatoon Fire Department says to call 911, keep track of landmarks in the area, and coach the individual to shore.

If you are in distress in the river, the fire department says to stay calm, keep your head above water, remove any heavy clothing, and don’t work against the current.

 

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