James River Park System Water Safety Tips for Residents and Visitors

The James River Park System is the city of Richmond's largest, most unique and best known park. This park system is made up of parks along both sides of the James River as it passes through the city, making Richmond the only urban city in the country with Class IV white water rapids in the middle of downtown. The James River Park System normally receives more than 500,000 visitors a year.

As temperatures rise, the City reminds residents and visitors to the park of the many dangers along and within the river as well as those associated with any body of water. Click here or continuing reading below for tips on a safe visit to the park or around any body of water:

  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended in or near water without adult supervision; teach children to always ask permission to go near or in water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone, ensure they always have supervision.
  • By law, when the water level on the James River is 5 feet and above, everyone on the river must wear a lifejacket. When water levels are 9 feet or above, no one is allowed on the river without a permit.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious wading around natural bodies of water including ocean shorelines, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall very dangerous.
  • Never mix alcohol and water activities as it impairs judgment, balance and coordination, swimming skills, and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm. Alcohol is not allowed in the James River Park System.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or utilize the local emergency call system.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Click here for more information on the James River Park System.