River safety buoyed by frequent users of the South Saskatchewan

As part of boat safety awareness week, the Saskatoon Canoe Club, in conjunction with Inland Marine Technologies, set up two buoyed signs in the South Saskatchewan River to remind those on the waterway of the traffic restrictions in between the Senator Sid Buckwold and Gordie Howe bridges.

“We funded the floating signs, the anchors, the chains to hold them, and we also install them and take them out in the fall,” IMT owner Mike Steckhan said.

The signs were put in after Saskatoon Canoe Club board member John McClean began to notice some problems in the interaction between motorized and human-powered vessels.

“There are these restrictions on the river with speed limits, and areas that the powered vessels aren’t allowed to be,” McClean said. “We found that nobody knew about them, about these restrictions, so, of course, they didn’t follow them.”

The signs are large, and their message simple.

Motorized boats must stay within 30 metres of the east river bank between the Sid Buckwold and Gordia Howe bridges, while maintaining a speed of no more than 30 km/h.

Both IMT and the Saskatoon Canoe Club hope that the signs will improve watercraft users’ knowledge on the river, where a simple conversation had failed in the past.

“A lot of people don’t like to hear anything from us,” McClean said. “We have encountered jet skis going between our group who is 50-feet from shore and the shore.

Those conversations haven’t always been the most inspiring for those trying to inform boat or jet ski operators of the rivers traffic restrictions.

“If we manage to get their attention and stop them, the most common reaction (we get) is the finger,” McClean said.

However, thus far the signs seem to be doing their job.

“I’ve seen people that had been going one way passed the sign, and then they saw the sign, turned around and moved over to where they should be,” McClean said.




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