River Safety Tips

The City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, United States Coast Guard, Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Cleveland- Cuyahoga County Port Authority announced important safety tips yesterday for an enjoyable summer on the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.

Summertime brings fun and excitement to our city’s great waterways. Recreational boaters, paddle-boarders, and kayakers, some experienced and some novice, venture out onto the water to enjoy all this great city has to offer. The recent expansion of the downtown entertainment district has resulted in a resurgence of recreational waterfront activities for all to enjoy. These amazing entertainment opportunities have presented new challenges and now safe practices are more important than ever.

As a reminder, Cleveland’s waterways are vital thoroughfares for industry, and large commercial freighters, some over 700 feet in length, transit six miles up the Cuyahoga River to distribute cargo. Although all watercraft are required to follow the navigational “rules of the road,” these large commercial vessels have little room to maneuver around the narrow bends in the Cuyahoga or “crooked” River. If you encounter one of these large freighters while operating a smaller recreational watercraft, please move toward the side of the river and use an abundance of caution as we all do our part to share Cleveland’s waterways.

Here are some additional safety tips to help keep you safe on our beautiful waterways:

  • ALWAYS wear a personal flotation device
  • DO NOT DRINK AND BOAT; alcohol is leading cause of fatal boating accidents
  • Be seen, especially at night. Great Lakes shipping is a 24/7 industry
  • Be on the lookout; if possible designate a “lookout” to help monitor your surroundings
  • Keep away from the bow and stern of freight vessels; propeller wash is dangerous.
  • Be aware of Coast Guard Safety Zones in the rivers; do NOT dock in these areas
  • Do not tie up to another recreational vessels and “raft” out into navigation channel
  • Know whistle signals: Five (5) or more blasts mean DANGER