Calgary floaters warned to stay safe on the Bow River

Click to play video: 'Officials push safety for those looking to enjoy Calgary rivers'
Officials push safety for those looking to enjoy Calgary rivers
WATCHA ABOVE: The Bow River through Calgary has been packed with people hitting the water to beat the heat. As Global’s Norma Reid reports, officials want to make sure those enjoying the river are safe. – Aug 19, 2022

It’s summertime and the living is easy. But when it comes to the Bow River, people are being warned that accidents can happen in an instant.

“A father and son just capsized their canoe and got in big trouble, so we did jump in and helped them,” Kyle Hagan said Friday.

Read more: Calgary business owners taking precautions as Bow River rises

Hagan, an experienced floater equipped with a helmet and lifejacket, said the duo is lucky he saw the boat flip. “Yeah, they’re OK. I would say make sure you go with a group. Don’t go alone. Because things go wrong really quickly as we just saw down there.”

Calgary fire officials say calls are down this year over last because fewer people took to the waters in June due to high water levels. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still busy with calls. Besides the obvious physical dangers one could face on the water, officials say there are other penalties as well.

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“If you get caught without a life jacket it’s a mandatory $500 fine and a court appearance,” said Arlin Friesen, who owns Lazy Day Raft Rentals.

Read more: Calgary lifts boating advisory for Bow and Elbow rivers

On hot summer days, he says thousands of people go into the water and his company makes sure everyone gets a strict safety lesson before they depart. Friesen says the top tips are “a solid inflatable boat, life jackets, paddles, safety kits. And then, no drugs or alcohol.”

They’re all important reminders as the summer days continue.

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