Otto Otter Canal Safety Program

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Otto Otter Canal Safety Program educates the community about the dangers of canals and highlights the importance of staying out and staying away. Otto Otter has been the Reclamation mascot since 1975 and was developed by a fourth grader in a water safety mascot contest. Canal safety presentations continue to be given at schools and community events.

Otto Otter with a friend.

According to the Idaho CareLine, both children and adults drown yearly in Idaho canals, and they report that more children drown in canals than any other body of water in Idaho annually. Canal water is very cold and fast moving. The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District estimates the water flow at the Ridenbaugh Canal, located in Boise at about 3 miles per hour at 4.5 feet per second. For their public safety announcement in 2012, a child’s shoe was dropped into the canal to provide a visual of how fast the water travels. In two minutes, the shoe traveled 540 feet and within 5 minutes, it was about a quarter mile away from where the shoe was dropped.

Otto Otter Canal Safety Coloring Book

To continue the education around the importance of canal safety, Reclamation has developed materials to engage with children.

Click here to download the Otto Otter Coloring Book available in both English and Spanish

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Click below to inquire how you can utilize the Otto Otter mascot and other materials to teach about canal safety.


Anna McLean

Last Updated: 11/3/23