Boaters beware: Some Pittsburgh dams might not have buoys for Memorial Day weekend

Tribune-Review

May 25–All warning buoys around dams on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers in Pittsburgh might not be in place for Memorial Day weekend, according to a notice from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

U.S. Army Corps Pittsburgh District officials warned those taking to the waterways this weekend to use extreme caution below and above the dams, some of which can be difficult to see for those moving downstream.

Officials are late in placing the safety buoys because of high waters. According to a notice earlier this month, they hope to finish placing all of them by the end of the month.

Safety concerns grew last year after two young women were killed when their kayaks went over a fixed crest dam at the Dashields Dam on the Ohio River between Sewickley and Crescent.

Eleven of the district’s 23 navigation dams can be difficult to see because they are low head or fixed crest dams. Of those 11 dams — eight are on the Allegheny River, one at Dashields on the Ohio and two are at Grays Landing and Elizabeth on the Monongahela River.The Corps is roughly doubling buoy coverage at those locations, according to spokesman Jeff Hawk.

New PFD policy

A new personal flotation device policy is in effect for anyone locking through the Corps’ 23 navigation facilities on the three rivers.

The policy requires the following people wear life jackets: anyone on the deck of a commercial tow boat, passenger boat or recreational vessel who is engaged in the locking process. Also, paddlers and anyone on a sit-down type of personal watercraft must wear life jackets.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.