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Swimming and wading in the South Saskatchewan River

For immediate release: August 9, 2018 - 1:00pm
FR18-114

The Saskatoon Fire Department acknowledges that residents and visitors are looking for a place to cool down in the summer’s heat and might choose the river. If that is the case, we would like to stress the importance of doing so safely. The Saskatoon Fire Department cautions the community of the dangers associated with using the South Saskatchewan River.

As per City of Saskatoon Bylaw No. 4433, swimming in the South Saskatchewan River is prohibited within City limits. Wading, which is the act of walking through a body of water, is permitted unless otherwise posted.

Any large body of water offers an inviting environment to cool down in the summer; however, the underlying functions of the South Saskatchewan River, including strong currents and barriers to alter the flow of water, can result in a potentially dangerous situation. It’s important to remember that the South Saskatchewan River is unpredictable, and that the shore’s edge and riverbed are considered extremely unstable. Obstacles and discarded debris pose an additional threat to those choosing to use the river for recreational purposes.

Engaging in the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol when in or around the river presents an increased risk to one’s safety. These substances are capable of influencing your ability to function, and can therefore increase the likelihood of a water-related emergency.

The South Saskatchewan River can pose a significant danger when a lack of care and consideration is given to following safe practices around the river. Remember to always be cautious near larger bodies of water.

In an emergency, call 911 immediately.