A wide river with thick green forests on both banks.

Staying safe around dams

From streams and ponds to rushing rivers and the expansive Great Lakes: Ontario Parks are home to a network of over one million hectares of lakes and rivers. So it’s no wonder that spending time near or on the water is an integral experience at most provincial parks across the province.

We want to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience in our parks and practicing proper water safety is a key component in that.

A winding river curving through a forest.

You may have noticed that a few provincial parks are located near or along the same body of water as a hydro dam facility operated by our friends at Ontario Power Generation.

Today, we’re sharing some important water safety tips to use when enjoying the water at any provincial park:

1. Always follow park signage

Whether you are visiting a park located near a hydro dam or not, please always read and respect posted signage.

Looking for fun and safe activities during your visit? Ask our park staff for recommendations, maps, rentals and more!

2. Stay clear; stay safe

No matter the time of year, always follow these key messages:

  • Stay back from water above or below hydro facilities;
  • Keep out of areas with culverts, fences, buoys, booms and barriers;
  • Never stand, anchor or tie your boat below a dam;
  • Always obey all warning signs.

Some portions of rivers and hydro dams can be admired safely from shore in designated areas.

Warning signs posted on the edge of a lake

Did you know? In the winter months, ice that forms near dams is deceptively thin and should be always avoided. In the warmer seasons, water levels and flows near dams can change rapidly with little or no warning.

3. Don’t forget your PFD!

When spending time on the water, always wear a PFD!

With the support of our partners like OPG, Ontario Parks provides PFD lending programs at 70 provincial parks across the province. At any of the participating parks, visitors can borrow a PFD free of charge for both kids and adults.

An Ontario Parks staff person holding out a blue PFD on a hanger and smiling. They are standing in front of a kayak rack in the forest.

Looking to rent a PFD during your park visit? Ask staff on your way in where they are located within the park!

Remember that water safety is your responsibility — children and non-swimmers should always wear a PFD when near or on the water.

4. Have fun!

A safe Ontario Parks visit is a fun visit!

The signage and information displayed in parks is there for your safety — please follow it while exploring all that our beautiful parks have to offer.

For more information on dam safety, visit the Ontario Power Generation website!

OPG Ontario Power Generation logo Text: "Where a brigher tomorrow begins."