Xcel Energy: Urges safety near dams
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – With the May 5 Wisconsin Fishing Opener just around the bend and the popularity of fishing near dams, Xcel Energy reminds anglers and boating enthusiasts to stay clear of dams.
“Boating or canoeing above or below a dam can be very dangerous, especially if the flow changes and your boat is anchored in a hazardous area,” said Rob Olson, hydro operations at Xcel Energy. “If there’s a sudden water discharge from the spillway gates, you could easily capsize.”
Many of the accidents and fatalities that occur near dams could be prevented by using common sense, practicing safety, staying clear of dams and understanding the dangers to be found near them.
Xcel Energy offers the following tips for personal safety near dams:
* Obey all warning signs, barriers and flashing lights, horns and sirens.
* Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) – a life jacket.
* Always stay outside buoy lines and away from restricted areas near dams.
* Never swim or wade near a dam.
* Never boat or fish alone when near a dam.
* Leave your boat motor running to provide maneuvering power.
* Stay clear of spillways. Changing currents and “boiling” waves can make boat control difficult near dams.
* Reverse currents occur below dams. They can pull a boat back toward the dam into the spillway and capsize it.
* Never anchor boats below a dam because water levels can change rapidly.
* Bring a cell phone and contact 9-1-1 in an emergency.
Xcel Energy wants fishermen, boaters, outdoor enthusiasts and visitors to enjoy the many exceptional recreation resources to be found on rivers and around dams in the region.
Xcel Energy operates 19 hydroelectric plants in Wisconsin with a total generating capacity of about 260 megawatts. Six of those plants are on the Lower Chippewa River and collectively account for almost one-third of Xcel Energy’s total hydro generation capacity. Visit http://www.xcelenergy.com for more information.