Fire official urges river safety in the Chattahoochee Valley - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fire official urges river safety in the Chattahoochee Valley

(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM) (Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Officials are urging river safety in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Almost 1.8 million people visit Columbus Georgia each year. One of the main attractions that most people want to visit is the Whitewater Park located on the Chattahoochee River, according to Fire Marshal Ricky Shores. 

The Whitewater Park is the longest urban whitewater park in the world. The 2.5-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River is located in the heart of Uptown Columbus and was named one of the 'Top 12 Man-Made Adventures in the World' by USA Today.

Professional guide services provide visitors an opportunity to raft the whitewater on a daily basis.

 As with any body of moving water, there are inherent hazards that are present, and by the nature of the Chattahoochee River’s swift water, visitors and the citizens living in the region should be aware of those hazards to prevent injuries and drownings. Some of the hazards include:

  • Swift moving water (In some areas the water looks calmer than it actually is)
  • Rapidly rising water (Due to the Georgia Power Dam generation schedules, which can change on a daily basis)
  • Murky water which can obscure hazards and drop-offs
  • Slippery Rocks
  • Undertows (Caused by the hydraulics of the water moving over rocks and drop-offs)
  • Underwater stumps and strainers that can be littered with fishing hooks.

Because if these hazards, the Columbus City Council adopted the following City Ordinance in 2012:

Sec. 14-45. – Personal floatation devices required on Chattahoochee River between North Highlands Dam and Columbus Iron Works Convention Center.

(a) Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are required on Chattahoochee River between North Highlands Dam and the southern property line of the Columbus Iron Works Convention and Trade Center.

It shall be unlawful for any person to swim, canoe, kayak, raft, jet-ski, or use any other vessel on the Chattahoochee River between the North Highlands Dam and the southern property line of the Columbus Iron Works Convention and Trade Center without wearing a personal Flotation devise as defined in O.C.G.A. 52-7-3.

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