Water Safety Information

Millions of citizens enjoy recreating on waters associated with Reclamation facilities. Make sure your friends and family are protected by planning and discussing the safety aspects of your outing.

There have been too many tragic drowning incidents related to recreation on the water. High water flows and structures present hazards that can contain forces beyond appearances.

While recreating on or near the water use these strategies to avoid danger:

  • Wear personal floatation devices (PFD or life vest) when boating, skiing, or tubing
  • Consider wearing a PFD if you are not a strong swimmer and don’t swim alone
  • Take a boating course to learn the safe way to operate your boat
  • High water levels conceal dangers such as trees, snags, and structures – exercise caution in unfamiliar waters
  • Do not swim or enter canals – the currents are deadly
  • Teach your children how to swim and faithfully monitor them while in the water
  • Do not dive into water until you ensure there are no obstructions and the depth is at least nine feet
  • Don’t let alcohol ruin your outing
  • Leave the water when bad weather approaches

Be knowledgeable of the water and environment you are in and its potential hazards. Be aware of deep and shallow areas, currents, changes in depth, and obstructions. Know where the entry and exit points are.

Additional information is availalbe from the Red Cross in their Swimming Safely in Lakes, Rivers and Streams document.

Water Safety Public Service Announcement (PSA)

It's hot and water is where the fun's at - but water isn't always friendly.

The Bureau of Reclamation urges those enjoying our nation's lakes and reservoirs to use extreme caution during this time of dangerously high water conditions.

Reclamation reminds recreationists to always be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and pay attention to potential hazards, such as: deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions and where entry and exit points are located.

Children or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device or life-jacket when around water.

Click here to listen to the PSA

Provided by Reclamation Great Plains Region

Water Wise with Otto Otter Podcast

Podcast Date: May 15, 2009

Running Time: 9 minutes 36 seconds

Synopsis: For millions of visitors, spring means it's time to pack up and head for the nearest reservoir for fun and recreation on the water. Swimming, boating, jet skiing, sailing or trying your luck with a rod and
reel are great ways to get away from it all and beat the heat all summer long. However you mix water and fun, the most important thing is to enjoy it safely...

Audio: Water Wise with Otto Otter      Text Transcript

Otto Otter PSA Canal Safety PSA with Otto Otter and Idahos First Lady - Otto Otter teaches kids to be safe around canals and other water sources. He may be available to visit your school or special event. Call (208) 378-5021 or email pninfo@usbr.gov for more information and to schedule a program. Watch the video.







Provided by Reclamation Pacific Northwest Region


Last Updated: 7/26/16