High Water Creates Dangerous River Currents

Jun 15, 2017

Credit Coast Guard Compass

High water on state rivers has prompted the DNR law enforcement section to ask boaters to be very careful when heading out.

DNR Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller says recent storms packing torrential downpours have fueled floods and strong fast currents. He says the public should think safety when planning water trips by first checking local conditions and to always wear a life jacket on the water.

Conservation Warden Michael Sealander in Vilas county agrees, saying a life jacket is necessary...

"....it's always a good idea to wear life jackets whenever you're on the water but particularly now when we have all this high water on some of our river systems like the Wisconsin River...there's so much water and the current is so strong...even if you're an avid swimmer you can get pulled under rather easily...."

Sealander says the power of water can be deceptive...

"...especially around dams when they're going to be letting a lot of water through. There's a lot of current below the dams and also on some of the low-head dams where you can't see the structure upstream. There's a lot of current there and dangerous spots there too. Pay attention to where you're and and where you're going and pay attention to what's around them...."

Sealander says also watch for debris that might be floating in the fast water as that could pose a hazard. He says have a plan when you go out.

Other safety tips are on the DNR website.