Water safety

Rouge National Urban Park

Canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding are all great ways to explore Rouge National Urban Park. It is important to keep safety in mind and make sure you are prepared for any emergency before heading out onto the water.

Check the weather forecast before you head out onto the water, as the weather and water conditions can affect your safety. If thunderstorms or strong winds are in the forecast, we recommend rescheduling your water activity for another day.

Swimming safety

  • Water quality is not tested daily and E. Coli levels may be variable, particularly at the river outflow.

  • Storms may deposit debris such as branches and logs under the water. They may also cause erosion and changes to beach topography that pose unseen hazards to swimmers.

  • Rip currents are possible at Rouge Beach and can pose a challenge even to strong swimmers.

  • Supervise children when they’re in the water.

  • When thunder roars, go indoors; seek shelter in a vehicle or building.

  • Inflatable toys and floats are not recommended. Currents and surf can quickly draw these far from shore.

  • Water temperatures suitable for swimming are generally reached by June and continue through August. Swimming during the spring and fall in cold water can increase the risk of hypothermia.

  • Be aware of hypothermia and how to treat it.

  • Please respect all instructions on Parks Canada signage in the area and check back here for the most up-to-date information.

Paddling safety

Paddling along the Rouge River is a great way to spot wildlife in the summer or the leaves changing in the fall. It is important however, to keep safety in mind and make sure you are prepared for any emergency, before you head out onto the water.

The Rouge marsh is large, be sure to keep your point of entry in mind. If you capsize, remain with your overturned vessel and move towards land. Sound three long blasts with your signaling device to attract attention if you need assistance. For more information on water safety visit Adventure Smart.

Safety gear

Bringing safety equipment is not only important for your personal safety, it is required by law. The minimum fine for not having the appropriate safety gear is $240. Ensure you have the appropriate safety gear for your vessel size and number of passengers onboard. We recommend bringing these items onboard for your next paddling adventure:

  • 1 lifejacket/PFD for each person on board
  • 1 buoyant heaving line at least 15m long
  • 1 bailer, manual bilge pump or bilge-pumping arrangements
  • 1 sound signaling device such as a whistle
  • 1 magnetic compass
  • 1 watertight flashlight

For a more extensive list and additional water safety info, please read the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide available online.

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