As we head towards a warm weekend, people will be taking to the waterways to keep cool against the July heat. 

Water safety should be top of mind for anyone planning to take to the water on any given day of the week. 

Cochrane Fire Services wishes to remind everyone whether you are enjoying rivers, streams, or lakes where there is water there is a risk, and water safety saves lives. 

Fire Inspector Jeff Avery says the Bow River remains fairly high and fast moving and since there is still snow in the mountains it will continue to be so for a while. 

Before heading out for some summer fun on the water remember:

  • Life jackets are required for everyone, it is mandatory for all ages.
  • Plan for the day by knowing the river and weather conditions.
  • Share your plans - Know the area you will be in and share your itinerary with someone so that if there is an emergency you can be located quickly.
  • Take a water safety kit.
  • Children should always be within an arm's length of you when on the water.
  • Intoxication on the water is dangerous and against the law so leave the alcohol at home.
  • The water in the Bow River and surrounding lakes are cold, watch for signs of hypothermia it can happen fast. 
  • If floating down the river, ensure that the raft or boat is made to handle river water and movement.

Fire Inspector Jeff Avery says, "There's water out there to have fun on and if you follow all the rules then you are going to have some fun but if you start breaking some of those rules then that fun can turn tragic in a hurry so just always be careful."

Most water deaths are due to people not wearing lifejackets or personal flotation devices or not wearing them properly. 

The Canadian Red Cross provides in-depth information on lifejackets and PFDs.

If you don't have a life jacket you can sign one out at the Cochrane Public Library.