City of Oswego, Brookfield Implement New Personal Flotation Device Zones at Varick Hydropower Dam on Oswego River

OSWEGO, NY (June 26, 2012) – The city of Oswego and Brookfield Renewable Energy Group jointly announce the immediate implementation of personal flotation device (PFD) zones below the Varick Dam on the Oswego River.

These mandatory zones are clearly indicated on signage in the Oswego River and visually monitored via video security cameras.

Individuals not wearing a personal flotation device are prohibited in these zones, and those failing to comply with these requirements are subject to prosecution for trespass.

It is also prohibited to remain in or enter into the PFD zones — whether wearing a PFD or not — following the activation of the siren or while the red warning light is illuminated, indicating water flow changes nearby the Varick Dam and powerhouse.

Implementation of the PFD safety zones follows Brookfield’s introduction of enhanced safety tools, signage and warnings at the Varick Dam.

According to Jon Elmer, general manager, Brookfield’s New York West Regional Operations Center, “Brookfield is committed to continuing its work to help create a culture of safety and preparedness at the Varick Dam in the city of Oswego. The new PFD zones are consistent with our plan to minimize risk to the public by identifying new areas of opportunity to improve public safety around the Varick Dam.”

“It’s important that we be vigilant and take a ‘whole community’ approach to public safety.  The new life jacket zones have been developed to provide the highest level of safety for anyone recreating on or near the Oswego River, especially nearby Brookfield’s Varick Dam and powerhouse,” said Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen. “While the public may be familiar with water safety and the precautions already in place at the Varick Dam, the safety message is having a positive impact on our community and bears repeating all season long.”

Oswego River Safety Measures

The public is advised to stay away from other dangerous areas such as intake and water conveyance structures, gates, powerhouses and substations.

In addition, everyone is advised to obey all warning signs, sirens, buoys, booms, barriers, lights and fences. River hazards are extremely dangerous and could result in permanent injury or death.

Lettered 911 river markers are provided on both sides of the Oswego River from the Varick Dam to its confluence with Lake Ontario to aid and assist rescue personnel when responding to an emergency. Rescue throw bags and rings are stationed at key points on the river.

Rescue stations and ladders are available at key points within the river to also aid with exit.

Take the time to learn about daily river conditions before recreating.

If you are unfamiliar with the river, review USGS Streamflow information or ask someone with local knowledge.

Wear It! Oswego/Life Jacket Loaner Program

The Wear It! Oswego campaign promotes the use of United States Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever recreating on or near water.

For additional information on Wear It! Oswego, visit

The Life Jacket Loaner Program offers free daily rental of U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type III life jackets in children, youth and adult sizes available at the City’s Wright’s Landing Marina, conveniently located at the intersection of the New York State canal system and Lake Ontario.

In order to be loaned a life jacket, borrowers must sign a waiver form and leave a valid driver’s license. Each borrower is required to sign the waiver form (except children under the age of 18, who require permission and signature of a parent or legal guardian). Borrowed life jackets must be returned by the end of each day to the same location at Wright’s Landing Marina.

Life jackets also are available for loan directly from city of Oswego’s fire stations on the east and west side of the city.

For additional information contact the Oswego Fire Department at 315-343-2161 or Wright’s Landing Marina at 315-342-8186.

1 Comment

  1. this is just stupid… so now your telling me i have to wear a life jacket to just step foot in the river.. i fish for bluegills and bass right in front of the dam most the summer and never had a problem. brookfield power plant is a joke just trying to cover there own butts… this is sad.. it truly is…

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