Safety on water
Some areas in Waterton Lakes National Park are now open to the public after the Kenow Fire. Closures are still in effect for other areas due to safety hazards and infrastructure damage. Please see the up-to-date list of open and closed areas.
Each year thousands of visitors enjoy the lakes and rivers of Waterton Lakes National Park. From canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding to swimming, scuba diving and fishing, there is a huge variety of ways to spend your day at the lake, but safety always comes first. Make sure you know before you go out on the water.
Ensuring that you have the proper safety equipment and are familiar with your chosen activity is the best way to stay safe on the water.
- Wear an approved personal flotation device and use caution while on the water.
- Be prepared: Carry the required safety equipment and ensure vessel preparedness. It could save your life on the water.
- Be aware of cold water risks: The immediate effects of cold water immersion can be life-threatening. Waterton's lakes and streams present two dangers, drowning and hypothermia in the extremely cold waters. Take precautions when crossing streams, or walking along the edge of streams and lakes.
- Weather conditions change rapidly. Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.
Keep in mind that the lakes in Waterton Lakes National Park are very cold, drop off quickly and are subject to strong winds. Emerald Bay (in the community) is a popular spot for swimming. When swimming in this area, please stay clear of the marina and the white markers.
Though park waters are generally clean, there is always a chance that harmful bacteria or parasites may exist in untreated surface water. Boil and filter untreated water before using, or carry water from a treated water source.