High water levels, hazards close all Winnipeg boat launches

By | July 9, 2020

All city boat launches in Winnipeg are closed due to high water levels and potentially dangerous debris, Winnipeg police say.

The Red River level at the James Avenue measuring site has increased from 7.2 feet to 14.5 in the past week, the city website says.

The normal summertime level is about 6.5 feet. 

The water on the Red River is moving very fast, and both the Red and Assiniboine are carrying a lot of debris right now, said Patrol Sgt. Jason English, who heads the Winnipeg Police Service river patrol.

Their patrol boat has passed full-sized trees in the water, he said.

“The water is moving so fast. We have a very large powerful river patrol boat and it has to work fairly hard close to the banks now, just with the speed the water is moving at.”

The fast moving water could make even the act of launching a boat a dangerous activity, he said.

He also cautioned against walking too close to the water’s edge. 

“If you slip and fall, you could be a long way away in very little time, if you were to go in,” he said.

“I can’t say stay off the river, but I can tell you that it’s a fairly treacherous place.”

The water on the Red River is moving very fast, making it dangerous to be on right now, Patrol Sgt. Jason English said. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Storms that brought heavy rain to southwest Manitoba in late June and through the early part of this month caused flooding, road washouts and states of emergency in some communities.

They also caused the Assiniboine River to swell. That water has since arrived in Winnipeg, merging with the Red River and submerging the walkway at The Forks. 

The city boat launches will remain closed until water levels drop to normal again, the Winnipeg Police Service said in a Twitter post.

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