Dam safety

Stay safe around dams, reservoirs and generating stations

With their fast-moving, ever-changing waters and historic facilities, hydroelectric dams can be interesting places to visit. But they are generating electricity, so there are hazards you should be aware of. Here are some ways to stay safe when you’re near a dam or generating station. 

  • Obey all warning safety signs. 
  • Stay out of fenced, marked and gated areas. 
  • Keep a safe distance away from dams, powerhouses and electric equipment unless you’re being supervised by facility personnel. 
  • Remain alert for audible warnings like sirens.
  • Supervise children at all times and keep pets on a leash. 
  • Keep a safe distance from waterways, which could have unstable footing or slippery banks.
  • Be aware that water levels can change quickly and unexpectedly.

Stay safe on the water

If you’re fishing, swimming or boating on a reservoir or on a river near dams, there are few other things to be aware of: 

  • Don’t stand or tie/anchor your boat below a dam since rapid and unexpected changes in water flows and levels can create significant hazards.
  • Reservoir water levels can rise or fall quickly depending on the demand for electricity, and they can change without warning.  
  • Watch for floating debris and concealed hazards (especially in shallow shoreline areas) that can accompany changes in water levels.
  • Stay out of restricted areas and respect all warning signs, safety booms, markers and buoys. 
  • Boaters must adhere to all regulations of the Canadian Coast Guard and always follow safe boating practices. 

Think twice about walking on ice

In winter, changing water levels and currents around dams and generating stations can cause gaps to form under the frozen surface of reservoirs and rivers, so avoid activities like snowmobiling, skating, cross-country skiing and walking on ice. Also, keep your pets on a leash.