Water safety is a priority in South Florida
During hot summer months, District canals can appear to be an ideal place to cool off and swim or spend a day fishing. However, it is important to understand these inviting waterways can be very dangerous to the public.
District canals were not created for recreational use. They are designed to collect and convey stormwater in order to provide both flood control and water supply for residents and businesses. This includes operation of large water control structures which when opened can create a sudden rise or lowering in a canal’s water elevation, as well as strong currents that may not be visible on the water’s surface. Additionally, canal banks and associated rights-of-way do not have protective barriers and canal banks can give way due to the soft sand and rocks below. Once in the water, it can be very difficult to climb out due to the steep side slope of the canal bank. There can also be many invisible dangers and submerged hazards in canals such as broken glass, scrap metal, bottles and cans, as well as wild animals such as alligators and snakes. Diving into a drainage canal is particularly dangerous because canal depths can vary and subsurface aquatic vegetation can tangle around extremities.
Please follow these safety tips to avoid drowning or injury:
- Don’t swim in canals
- Keep a safe distance from canal side slopes
- Stay away from water control structures
- Never jump or dive into a canal to rescue pets or objects such as toys
For more safety tips on water safety, visit the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County’s website at www.pbcgov.com/drowningprevention.