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Is it okay and safe to riverboard or kayak over dams? Cause I have seen people do it on YouTube
 

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You can find videos of idiots doing all kinds of stupid stuff on Youtube..... that doesn't mean you should repeat their behavior. My suggestion would be to spend a few minutes reading the American Whitewater Accident Database and specifically look to see how many fatalities there have been in the last couple years from low-head dams.

https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/summarize/recent/20/
 

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You can find videos of idiots doing all kinds of stupid stuff on Youtube..... that doesn't mean you should repeat their behavior. My suggestion would be to spend a few minutes reading the American Whitewater Accident Database and specifically look to see how many fatalities there have been in the last couple years from low-head dams.

https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/summarize/recent/20/
Exactly. And a good quote: "Stupid is what stupid does".
 

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Weve all done stupid things and lived to tell. Doesnt mean its a good idea. While some can be run, a lot cannot. There are deaths every year on class 1/2 related to running low head dams.
 

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On the other hand the world population is currently 7.6 billion and growing rapidly.........
There was this guy who had a theory or something, I can't remember is name but it started with a D.
 

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Low head dams, spillways, and other manufactured water impediments create among most dangerous recirculation spots regardless of river classification, and so should be fully avoided at all costs. And irrigation ditches too can be real killers. As many have said, countless have drowned this way, lowly tubers, strong boaters, sadly also a lot of children.

Basically, the laminar flow or "sheet" of water that a pour-over creates becomes a strong, vertical hydraulic force of displacement entering the pool below, trapping things or pulling them back under the falls by the recirculation. Since this can entrain debris, being knocked out by this stuff is possible as well. So in short, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TRY IT. Sure, there's a lot of videos of death-defying morons doing things and they miraculously aren't hurt/maimed/crippled/dead. But don't let exceptions become the rule to try stuff with a significant penalty of death because YMMV.
 

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Low head dams, spillways, and other manufactured water impediments create among most dangerous recirculation spots regardless of river classification, and so should be fully avoided at all costs. And irrigation ditches too can be real killers. As many have said, countless have drowned this way, lowly tubers, strong boaters, sadly also a lot of children.

Basically, the laminar flow or "sheet" of water that a pour-over creates becomes a strong, vertical hydraulic force of displacement entering the pool below, trapping things or pulling them back under the falls by the recirculation. Since this can entrain debris, being knocked out by this stuff is possible as well. So in short, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TRY IT. Sure, there's a lot of videos of death-defying morons doing things and they miraculously aren't hurt/maimed/crippled/dead. But don't let exceptions become the rule to try stuff with a significant penalty of death because YMMV.

Too true! Also, the boil lines can be far downstream from the dam faces, making swimming out of (or under) extremely difficult if not impossible. So you end-up with a powerful UPSTREAM current washing you back into the hydraulic.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnkMOvyOt6w
 

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paddling over dams

dams are killing machines. they usually create a regular, unbroken area of recirculating water which may look benign, but can hold boats and swimmers with little or no chance of escape. only with years of experience should a paddler even consider running a dam, and even then the decision to run is inordinately life threatening. paddling presents lotsa exciting challenges without undue risk - running dams is just not necessary.
 

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No, man!

Good god, no man! Low head dams are the most dangerous thing you can tangle with on any river at any flow level. Walk around.
 

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Kind of depends on the dam low dams like under 3-4 feet should be avoided but spillways are usually ok and bigger dams like the cameo dam on the way to grand junction below big sur looks fun one of my boating buddy’s ran it and said when the flow gets low they put all the water through one side and it’s really big and not super sticky
 

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Best advice is to NOT run any dams, especially in any boat where a swim is likely, river board, sit on top, SUP. Many dam profiles are simply killing machines for a swimmer.


That being said, there are numerous dams in Colorado that can safely be run depending on your choice of vessel. In a cat, I have run the dam in Lower Clear Creek dozens of times. The dam as you enter Canon City (Royal Gorge) is runnable. Been looking at the dam less than a mile below Bridges take-out on the Poudre.


Stay safe.
 
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