With summer in full swing, Xcel Energy is reminding boating and fishing enthusiasts to be safe around dams and hydroelectric facilities.
Boating or canoeing above or below a dam can be dangerous. “If you’re operating a watercraft near a
dam, you need to be aware of changing flow conditions from either the spillway or powerhouse,” said Rob
Olson, Hydro Operations at Xcel Energy. “And if you recreate near a dam, you need to be aware of your
surroundings so you can quickly respond to rapidly changing water conditions.”
Xcel Energy is a member of the Midwest Hydro Users Group (HUG), an association of dam owners who
promote safe, efficient, economical and environmentally friendly use of hydroelectric power. The group
urges outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the many recreational resources that can be found on the rivers in
Wisconsin and offers these tips for personal safety near dams:
• Obey all warning signs, barriers and flashing lights, horns and sirens.
• Wear a personal flotation device – a life jacket.
• Always stay outside buoy lines and away from restricted areas near dams.
• Never swim or wade near a dam.
• Never boat or fish alone when near a dam.
• Leave your boat motor running to provide maneuvering power.
• Stay clear of spillways. Changing currents and “boiling” waves can make boat control difficult near
• Reverse currents occur below dams. They can pull a boat back toward the dam into the spillway and
• Never anchor boats below a dam because water levels can change rapidly.
• Set an example for children, who may not be aware of the dangers, even if they can read. State
explicitly where they can and cannot go and make sure you are close to them and can see them at all
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