Water Safety Tips

Water Safety Tips

Beach Safety:
Changes are in place at Fred Henne Territorial Park and Hay River Territorial Park to ensure everyone has a fun and safe summer on the beach.

Click here to review the new beach safety rules for Fred Henne Territorial Park.

Be Prepared:
Familiarise your entire group with rescue techniques, and practice them. The following items are some of the things that you should do before setting off on your trip.

  • Kneel - a canoe is more stable when both paddlers kneel.
  • Wear a personal flotation device at all times.
  • Never travel alone.
  • Leave an itinerary with friends or family.

If You Capsize:

  • Always rescue people first, the canoe second, and gear last.
  • Remove people from the cold water immediately.
  • Hold your paddle.

On a Lake:

  • Hold on to your canoe - it will float and will make you easy to spot.
  • If you are near shore, push or swim the canoe to shore. Do not leave your canoe.

On a River:

  • Never stand up in a swift current.
  • If you tip or fall out, hold on to the upstream end of the canoe.
  • Swim to shore or an eddy.
  • If you are forced to swim in rapids, float on your back with your feet at the surface and downstream from you.

White Water Tips:

  • Always scout any rapids before running them.
  • Hazards - look out for deadheads, log jams, overhanging branches and falls.
  • Lash in your packs and waterproof your gear.
  • Wind and waves can be a major problem. Allow extra time for the trip in case you become wind-bound. Follow the leeward shore at all times and cross lake at its narrowest point. As always, stay close to the shore for safety's sake.


  • Due to changes in water level, the location of portages often varies. 
  • Always keep the water level in mind when approaching a portage - portage signs may be several yards from the trail.