Water Safety


Safety at Boise Parks, Ponds, and Pools

The City of Boise’s Parks and Recreation Department manages several parks with ponds and water features open to the public for swimming, paddling, and fishing. While these are all great options for you and your family, please note that no lifeguards are on duty at public swimming ponds or at the Boise Whitewater Park. More information on amenities and hours of operation at each park location is available online: Esther Simplot Park, Quinn’s Pond, and J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park.

Thanks to a generous grant from St. Luke's Health System, free life jackets are available at loaner stations located at both Quinn's Pond and the ponds at Esther Simplot Park. Additionally, families can stop in to nearby Idaho River Sports (601 N Whitewater Park Blvd.) to be fitted for a free life jacket to use while they swim. Thank you for returning your loaner life jackets when you're done for the day so others can take advantage of this life saving resource.

For more options, check out City of Boise pools.

We encourage you to watch the following video. Please practice and share the water safety tips.

Safety video 


Canal Safety

Canals are incredibly dangerous and should not be used for recreational activities. It is important that all Idaho residents, particularly our children, understand the dangers associated with canals and that we all keep an eye on children when we are near canals. Check out the canal video message from the Boise Fire department.

Canal safety video

  • Concrete canals have slippery sides that make it near impossible to climb out of
  • Don't go into a canal, ditch, lateral or drain to retrieve anything: This includes toys, clothing, pets or anything else. Contact your local irrigation manager to help safely retrieve items that end up in one of these bodies of water

Boise River Safety

The Boise River is not recommended for floating or paddleboarding at this time. The official float season for the Boise River typically begins in late June. Local officials, including Ada County Parks & Waterways and Boise Fire, will continue to evaluate options for the float season as summer approaches. As a reminder to all recreationists, the Boise River is never free and clear of hazards and those on the river recreate at their own risk. The Boise Fire Department will continue to monitor the river for downed trees and other hazards as we approach the opening of float season and will mitigate those as necessary. Not all hazards can or will be mitigated and recreationists should always be aware of the river environment and its dangers.  Even in the heat of the summer, the water temperature in the Boise River can be very cold and impact your ability to swim.

Additional water safety tips to remember this summer.

  • Wear a life jacket when swimming in or paddling on the water
  • Never leave children unattended or near water – children are drawn to it
  • Do not swim or recreate in canals
  • Learn to swim. Seek out your local partners in the community that offer swimming lessons
  • Use the buddy system; never swim alone
  • Beware of how cold the water is when you swim. Coldwater can significantly impact your ability to swim, even if you are a good swimmer.
  • Be aware that lifeguards are not present at City of Boise public swimming ponds
  • Follow all posted rules. If no rules are posted, use common sense
  • Swimmers with limited water experience should stay in water less than chest deep
  • Know the water you are in and all possible dangers associated
  • Do not swim if there are indications of bad weather
  • Do not dive head first unless the area is clearly posted for diving
  • Do not swim or boat while under the influence of alcohol

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