Montana is known for its pristine rivers, clear mountain lakes, and vast reservoirs that provide fishing, boating and recreational opportunities across the state. The power of water is awesome and unpredictable. As the seasons change so do the conditions on Montana's lakes, rivers and streams. To ensure you have a safe experience while you enjoy any water-related activity, make certain you have the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary for a safe outing.
A fall into cold water without a life jacket on, and you could drown in the span of a few minutes. Research shows that a sudden immersion into cold water starts as series of incapacitating reflexes that increase the risk of drowning. Understanding your body's reaction to cold water and the four stages of immersion will increase your ability to respond appropriately. [Learn more]
When the body losses heat faster than it can produce heat, the body's inner core temperature drops below norm. This is called hypothermia, and it can be deadly. In Montana, hypothermia is a danger year round and can occur both on land and in the water. A person who dies after falling into cold water is usually the victim of cold water immersion, a process that includes hypothermia. [Learn more]
Swimming and wading can be fun, active, and healthy ways to spend time outdoors. Stay safe as you head for the water! [Learn more]
Dams come in many sizes and shapes, everything from huge power generating hydroelectric dams to small low-head dams (called drowning machines) typically built to back up water for irrigation purposes. Near a dam, swirling water, submerged objects, and strong currents can pose dangers for boaters and swimmers. [Learn more]