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All dams, regardless of their size, are dangerous.  Many accidents and drownings occur at “run of the river” dams where water flows over the crest of the dam and down a face.

Dam Danger Sign

You SHOULD NEVER attempt go over a dam in any vessel, and avoid approaching a dam from below – currents can sweep you over a dam from above or draw you into the dam face from below.  Wading below a dam, and swimming anywhere in the vicinity of a dam are also dangerous.

Run of the river dams can trap persons in the “boil” of the dam.  This recirculating current that can hold you even if you are wearing a life preserver, and can hold debris that can severely injure you. 

Click here for animation regarding the dangers of dams.

llinois Paddling Council has developed a video portraying the dangers of dams and footage of the organization's dam safety model. Check out this video here.