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It’s time to get out and enjoy the river—safely. Sometimes a day of paddling, tubing, or wading in the Chattahoochee River doesn’t end well. Here are a few reminders for how to recreate responsibly.

Wear a PFD

A U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) must be worn if you are boating, tube floating, or wading in river areas between Buford Dam and the GA 20 highway bridge and Morgan Falls Dam and the Morgan Falls boat ramp.

On all other river sections in the park, you must have a wearable PFD on board all watercraft, including float tubes and air mattresses for each person. All children under the age of 13 must wear a PFD when a watercraft is underway.

Cold water, time, and swimming ability

Water released into the Chattahoochee River comes from the bottom of Lake Lanier at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That is COLD! Water this cold can be dangerous, causing shock and hypothermia. Don’t overestimate your swimming ability or underestimate the danger this cold water presents to even the strongest swimmers. You don’t have much time before hypothermia sets in.

Water quality and quantity

The water quality and flow rate of the Chattahoochee River fluctuate. The water quality is generally good except after a heavy rain. Visit the BacteriAlert website to find out how safe it is to be in the river.

Water levels on the Chattahoochee River are influenced on a daily basis by weather and water releases from Buford Dam and Morgan Falls Dam. Before launching your boat or tube, check the flow rate and you'll learn what to expect, like how long the ride should take or if you will be bumping over rocks or in a flood. Check the River Flow Rate here.

Buford Dam

The Buford Dam water release schedule can be accessed by calling 770-945-1466, or toll free 1-855-DAM-FLOW (1-855-326-3569), or on the Hydropower Generating Schedule webpage.

Morgan Falls Dam 

The Morgan Falls Dam water release schedule can be accessed via Georgia Power's Chattahoochee Hydro Real-Time Operations webpage.

 CRNRA Water Safety   CRNRA Current Conditions   Water Safety Edition | #RecreateResponsibly

As a final reminder for Water Safety Month, we suggest not diving or jumping into the river, for many obvious reasons. And to enjoy the entire day, remember your sunscreen, keys, and that cell phones don’t float - even if they are waterproof.

For Non-Emergency Law Enforcement Assistance in the CRNRA call 404-730-7911. If you experience an emergency, dial 911.

Photo of the Life Jacket Loaner Station at Akers Mill 

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Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system managed by the National Park Service.



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