Bacteria occur naturally in the water, but there are certain kinds – like E. coli – that are good indicators of sewage pollution. The Harpers Ferry vicinity up to Dam 5 west of Hagerstown supports the largest walleye population on the Potomac, and one of the best walleye fishing opportunities in the region. Check out the Washington Post's interactive mapto view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. There are still extremely strong currents under the water that can pull the unaware swimmer down into the river’s depths. When this occurs, runoff flows directly into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Discover how the Potomac has helped Emily, and what she hopes for its future. © 2021, Potomac Conservancy, Silver Spring, MD. We want to protect the public’s right to swim, or paddle, or paddleboard, or wade – or whatever they want to do to cool off or have fun this summer in the Potomac. The COMAR Exemption (“Boating” while wearing a “flotation device”). These 10 Potomac River fishing hotspots should enter into every angler's calculations. In … Bottom line: Due to large debris and runoff pollution, you should NOT wade in local rivers or streams if it has rained in the last three days. The most common response when he tells people, he said, is shock: “You go swimming where? The short answer is: swimming and wading generally is illegal; however, if an individual is swimming or wading with a canoe/kayak/SUP and wearing a PFD, then their action is most likely legal. The COMAR specifically defines, “recreational use” as “activities on the Potomac River, including swimming, bathing, wading, diving, tubing, rafting, and other uses involving contact with the water.” (COMAR 08.06.01.02B(2)(a)). But the improved grade doesn't mean the river is always safe for swimming. Vernon and the Federal City bearing his name just upstream, the Potomac’s first calling is its service as the southern headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. To answer the question of swimming-and-wading legality in the Potomac River, the following two regulations must be reviewed: (1) the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) (because sections of the Potomac River border National Parks) and (2) the Code of Maryland Regulations (“COMAR”) (because the Potomac River is within the State of Maryland). At Potomac Conservancy, we think the river is the best classroom or teacher anyone could ask for this back-to-school season. “It's definitely safe to swim in the Potomac on a perfect summer day,” said Phillip Musegaas, vice-president of programs and litigation for the Potomac Riverkeeper Network. And, if so, do the laws contain any exceptions? Where are the best beaches? . What is in the Potomac River’s water? But on just about any summer weekend afternoon there are dozens of boats moored above the Key Bridge, many with people jumping in and out the water. There are countless swimming spots across our region – from the sandy beaches at Point Lookout, to backyard streams and creeks. Plus find out how one organization is using their overabundance to do good. 10 local places to splash, swim, and keep cool this summer. Both organizations, Rock Creek Conservancy, and their volunteers conduct extensive hands-on activities to improve our rivers. The ferry connects White’s Ferry Road between Montgomery County, Md. Two Drownings in Potomac River Prompt Swimming Warning By Bay Bulletin / June 15, 2020 Emergency responders in Washington, D.C. and Maryland are warning people not to swim in swift-moving portions of the Potomac River after two drownings near Chain Bridge over the past three weeks. The Potomac is also home to a growing number of invasive fish, including snakeheads and blue catfish, and scientists say they are here to stay. We’ll keep you updated on local river news, wildlife, and fun outdoor events. "Is it safe to swim in the Potomac River?". . We have to make it safe for people to go in the water. Hiring an attorney is an important decision which should not be based solely on advertising. Loudoun developed a plan to "bank" wintertime flows in the Potomac River. . Thus, “swimming or wading” by a boater associated “with a vessel” and wearing a “flotation device” between Great Falls and Washington, D.C. is not prohibited by the COMAR Restriction or CFR Restriction. Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin After strong storms, drainage and sewage pipes in and around Washington, DC can overflow. # swimmablepotomac # cleanwater # WaterIsLife # potomacriver # swimdrinkfish It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. And the exemption below trumps and supersedes any CFR-swimming/wading prohibition because it addresses wearing a PFD related to CFR-Exemption-listed subjects/boats — “vessels” as defined in COMAR 08.06.01.02B(3). Ask the Expert: Is it safe to swim in the Potomac? The answer is - it is and it isn’t. Thus, entering the Potomac River for “[b]athing, swimming, or wading” from any National Capital Region Park (which includes the C&O Canal and Great Falls Park) is restricted. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Swimming or wading is legally restricted in the Potomac River by entering the River (a) though any National Capital Region Park (via CFR) and (b) in most areas between Great Falls and the Maryland/Washington, D.C. line (via COMAR). Historic White’s Ferry, the last of the 100 ferries that once operated on the Potomac River, has shut down after an 11-year legal battle with a property owner at the ferry’s landing. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. During the past few years, signs have been posted in Maryland along popular hiking sections of the Potomac River near Great Falls and Mather Gorge which state that swimming and wading are illegal in the Potomac River. Federal regulations do indeed specifically restrict swimming and wading in the Potomac River. In some other European countries, including Scotland and most of Scandinavia, there is an explicit (statutory) legal right to swim or navigate in all water bodies, related to the public rights to roam. “You look at other cities, and their rivers are full of dams and levees. Is swimming illegal in the Potomac River? Now you, along with the abundant wildlife that calls the mountain home, can enjoy its vast acres of uninterrupted forest, unimpeded river views, clear streams, and rare wildflowers. Swimming and wading without a personal flotation device (“PFD”) in certain types of river sections can be extremely dangerous; thus, such restrictions can be very logical. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. Disgusting, right? and Loudoun County, Va. Cars line up on a ramp to load onto the vessel, which follows a wire cable to the other side of the Potomac. Now she’s hoping the river that has accelerated her athletic career will propel her to the 2020 Olympics. Whether you already have plans or still need to make some for the big day, we’ve got you covered with a list of the best outdoor dates on and around the Potomac. . That sounds strange, but it’s time to clear up a few points and to provide tips to make your summer cool. Now more than ever, we all need the mental and physical health benefits of getting outside. Here’s how our team is getting outside and enjoying the river while social distancing…now tell us your story! It doesn’t work. Who needs a pool when we live by the water? One of our favorite spots for cooling off on the river is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Bethesda, MD 20817 128k members in the washingtondc community. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. Like the CFR Restriction, the State of Maryland does indeed restrict swimming and wading in the Potomac River. But you look at the Potomac, and it has just two major dams, way up in the West Virginia highlands, and one levee, at Georgetown Harbour. Skip Netflix binge-watching, take a hard pass on a crowded restaurant, and get outside to make some memories with your special someone. A subreddit for those living in and visiting Washington, DC and the immediate surrounding area. Our collective voices are already making huge strides for local. Call us at (301) 291-5027 if you have any further questions or if you think we can help you out. Potomac River 7.5 Mile Swim CANCELLED IN 2020 DUE TO COVID-19. “The Potomac is a natural river to this day, which is unusual,” Peck says. Share your story! With Offices in Maryland (Rockville or Bethesda), and Washington, DC, the attorneys at Longman & Van Grack assist clients throughout Washington, DC and Maryland including Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George’s County, Chevy Chase, Darnestown, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. First, “recreational use” (as prohibited in the, Second, “Boating” is defined as “any recreational or other use of the Potomac River involving a vessel, including swimming or wading in association with a vessel.” (. But how can you take advantage of the winter outdoors without it feeling like a chore? Last year, the state of West Virginia officially opened it as a public recreation area. The water will be pumped from the river, when there is an excess of flow, to an old rock quarry. That’s why the Potomac Riverkeeper has launched a Swimmable Potomac Campaign. Check out the Washington Post's interactive mapto view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. Consult Request. The Anacostia Watershed Society rated the Anacostia a D- in 2018, the river’s first passing grade, with the ability to swim in the Anacostia by 2025 a stated goal. Kayak Photo credit © William MacFarland, courtesy of MacFarlandPhoto.net. Longman & Van Grack regularly advises clients regarding sports and recreation legal issues within our Sports and Recreation Law Practice. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. How are you staying connected to nature this spring? Five years ago, we purchased White Horse Mountain in West Virginia to protect it from development. But there are some hazards in her way. WILD SWIMMING - THE LEGAL SIDE . CHECK BACK IN 2021 May 30, 2020 I’ve been meaning to post this forever, mostly cause I have these totally awesome photos sitting in a folder. Get Exploring! © 2021 Longman & Van Grack, LLC All Rights Reserved, Montgomery County Maryland Lawsuits & Trials, Administrative Appeals and Petition for Review, Tax Court Appeals and Tax Petitions for Review, Estate Administration and Estate Planning, Estate Planning & Administration Overview, Sports Law & Outdoor Recreation Law Overview, Contract and Document Review for Sports & Outdoors Industry, Liability Waivers for Sports & Outdoors Industry, Olympic and Professional Athlete Legal Representation. The right to swim is a complex issue which, in many cases, is undetermined. World-class rower Emily Schmieg is up training on the Potomac river every morning at 6 am, and it’s where she’s found her peace - and speed. The region’s leading clean water advocate, fighting to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean drinking water, healthy lands, and connected communities. These pipes are in the process of getting fixed, but before they are, wait out the overflow aftermath. Well, if you saw our latest report card, you’d see that the river’s health has improved from a D to a B in ten years. !” But those who monitor and patrol the river … Potomac sites that are under VA or MD jurisdiction are rated against these Virginia values. The term skinny-dip was first recorded in English in 1947. On Tuesday, when the riverkeepers christened their newly donated boat, the Potomac River was rated red for no-go — based on a September 2018 water sample. Thus, in these Potomac River areas (which encompass most of the River between Great Falls and the Maryland/Washington, D.C. line), swimming and wading as a “recreational use” are prohibited. When it rains, household sewage from Washington DC and Alexandria combines with polluted stormwater, discharging raw sewage, pet waste, road runoff, and other contaminants that foul the Potomac River. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. For safety reasons, swimming in the Potomac is illegal between Great Falls and the southern Maryland/DC line. Genuinely useful tips for getting outside this winter. Check out the Washington Post's interactive map to view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. Phone: (301) 291-5027 As summer heats up, here are our picks for safe, open, clean water spots in the Potomac River regions to cool off. George Washington could have built his home anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard. The quarry will serve as a reservoir, storing the water until it is needed during the summer. It gives you pause. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. We used to have beaches on the Potomac and swimming used to be legal! Longman & Van Grack, LLC Walking along a riverside trail with sunlight slowly burning your cheeks and sweat dripping down your back, you stop and look longingly at the nearby river. Is the Potomac still too polluted to swim in? Therefore, if the State of Maryland has established laws or regulations regarding the “wearing or the carriage of personal flotation devices” for the Potomac River related to the subject areas/boats listed in the CFR Exemption, then those state laws or regulations will trump the CFR Restriction (or any CFR regulation). For years it has been illegal to swim in the Potomac River in Washington, DC because high levels of bacteria sometimes make it unsafe. Suite 750 #6E Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. We don't spam or share your information. . The Potomac River (/ p ə ˈ t oʊ m ə k / ()) is found within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay.The river (main stem and North Branch) is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km 2). The COMAR Restriction (“recreational use”). Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? Technically it’s still illegal to swim in the Potomac from Georgetown. “If it … It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. Fax: (301) 291-5028 Glancing down, you see a plastic bag half buried in the sand. With water temperatures around 50°F, U.S. Marine Quinn Hurt braves the polluted, murky waters of the Potomac. Denis Crean swims in the Potomac River two times a week. He takes others in, too, to teach them techniques for traversing the open water. Swimming or wading is legally restricted in the Potomac River by entering the River (a) though any National Capital Region Park (via CFR) and (b) in most areas between Great Falls and the Maryland/Washington, D.C. line (via COMAR). Quiz: What's up with swimming in the Potomac River? Is Swimming Illegal in the Potomac River? If you’re curious about a particular water hole or spot on the Potomac River, feel free to run your own test! A riverside scavenger hunt suitable for all ages! The river actually encompasses 383 miles, running from its source in the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains until it empties out into the Chesapeake Bay. Thank you! Bacteria is also a serious concern. The CFR Restriction (“Bathing, swimming, or wading”). You can book a tubing trip on the Shenandoah or the Potomac River and decide whether you want a relaxing flat water float or an adventurous white water exploration. 10411 Motor City Drive But it is advisable that you get back in your boat ASAP. However, are these signs properly conveying the operative law in Maryland for the Potomac River? Bacterial levels and current may create a safety concern, depending on time of year, weather, and other factors. Sign up to receive our monthly River Update email. Accordingly, the COMAR makes the following restriction: “A person may not enter the Potomac River for the purpose of recreational use” in the following two areas: (a) from “200 yards above the crest of Aqueduct Dam to . You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Starting in Tenleytown, Foundry Branch goes through multiple DC neighborhoods before entering the Potomac River. Swimming in the Potomac is generally not approved in the District, but organized events like the Nation’s Triathlon and other races can get exceptions. Streamside Scavenger Hunt: Can you find these flowers? . It's a common question we hear from concerned folks in the Washington, DC area. We are utilizing the Virginia standards because they are more protective of public health for individuals swimming or otherwise in primary contact with the water than Maryland’s standards. except for the purpose of saving a drowning person, is prohibited.” (36 CFR 7.96(e)). and upstream of the Maryland-District Columbia line.” (COMAR 08.06.01.03). The … 15 of our favorite local date spots for the outdoor romantic, Watch: The Potomac River fuels Olympic dreams, Fighting the invaders: what you can do to combat invasive fish, Staff Picks: 6 Books to Read by the River. Bottom line: There are lots of local spots where it is both legal and safe to swim. Bottom line: It is illegal to swim between Great Falls and the Maryland/DC line. “The Potomac especially is very deceptive, it has some spots that look very calm, very tranquil, look very easy to swim in,” he says. Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? The June 1 event, which takes swimmers from Hull Neck, Virginia, across the river to Point Lookout State Park in Maryland, provides a challenging distance swim for the participants while raising environmental awareness about the river as well as funds for Potomac environmental groups. Is it safe to swim or boat in the Potomac? Friday – 6/7/2013, 9:53am ET By Megan Cloherty The D.C. Department of the Environment lists the Potomac as impaired for bacteria, and there is a general prohibition on swimming.The river is monitored in real time for a number of parameters, including water temperature and pH. Dam 5 to Dam 3. Like in Georgetown for instance? If you're boating and wearing a personal flotation device and you happen to fall in, that is not illegal. Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? It's a short drive from downtown DC and the perfect way to keep cool and relax on a summer's day. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. 100% Privacy. Find out how in our visitor’s guide, including 6 adventure activities. All Rights Reserved. The CFR clearly states that “Bathing, swimming or wading in the Tidal Basin, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or Rock Creek, or entering from other areas covered by this section the Potomac River . You will receive our next monthly River Update e-newsletter. Don’t let the calm-looking water fool you! Assuming you're at a stretch of river where it is legal to swim (always check! Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. The Potomac River (Potomac River - Wikipedia) is not very deep at all until one gets well downstream: Historically, this was a cause of some vexation since there were great plans to make the Potomac the gateway for the development of the West. Additionally, as exactly anticipated by the CFR Exemption, the State of Maryland regulates activities regarding boating with a PFD. The CFR Exemption (“personal flotation devices”). If it has rained in the past three days, and the water looks brown or murky, then it is best to avoid touching local waterways. The “areas covered” by the CFR Restriction are the National Capital Region Parks. We must eliminate DC's and Alexandra's combined sewage discharges and lift the swim ban that prohibits swimming in the Potomac River! Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Nude swimming, or skinny dipping, is the practice of bathing naked, whether in natural bodies of water, in swimming pools, or in hot tubs.. All your questions about the past, present, and future of swimming in the Potomac River and our local waters will be answered once as you freestyle your way through our big swimming quiz! Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. However, swimming or wading in any section of the Potomac River is not illegal when the individual (1) is “wearing” a PFD while involved with a “vessel” and (2) is “associated with a vessel” (vessel includes kayaks, canoes, and multiple-chambered rafts). When will there be waterslides into the river??? There are exceptions for those who operate a boat, canoe, or kayak and happen to fall in wearing a personal floatation device. But while you’re enjoying a fall breeze by the water, why not read a book that strengthens your connection with it? We've got a few tips on how you can fight these invaders and protect native fish. Trees and other large debris can lurk just below the water's surface and pose serious danger to those in the river. Unlike many other countries the owners of the bank in the UK own half the river bed and, unless there is an established use, a swimmer could be trespassing. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on these navigable waters located at National Harbor, MD, during a swim event on June 20, 2020. Check out this list of how to prepare for cold weather, new activities to try, wildlife you can only spot in the winter, and even how to stay in touch with the natural world when you’re determined to stay indoors. He chose the Potomac River, forever identifying it as the “Nation’s River.”But even more significant than Washington’s riverside estate at Mt. For those of us that love to learn, here are six of our favorite non-fiction works that celebrate the wildlife, waters, and wonders of the Potomac Watershed and beyond. Is is safe? The term "Potomac" is often used as a synonym for the nation's capital, and it does in fact flow through the District of Columbia, separating it from the neighboring state of Virginia. Like … You take a step toward the water that's gently lapping the shore and you hear a crumpling sound under your foot. ), the weather is an important factor to consider before jumping in. upstream of a line beginning at the base of Stubblefield Falls” and (b) between “100 yards above the crest of Dam No. **WARNING: SWIMMING IS PROHIBITED IN D.C. In fact, Longman & Van Grack attorney Adam Van Grack has not only represented sports and recreation entities, but has also been a member of the boards of several sports safety and Olympic training nonprofits. The annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment is growing in popularity as a distance swim event. However, the Federal regulations also contemplate that boaters wearing PFDs might require specific regulations or laws that could conflict with CFR regulations. Whether you want to deepen your knowledge of Potomac River flora or simply spice up your spring strolls with an activity, we’ve got your next adventure sorted! The Coast Guard is proposing to establish special local regulations for certain waters of the Upper Potomac River. Thus, the CFR creates the following exemption for all of its regulations: “The States are exempted from preemption by Federal regulations when establishing, continuing in effect, or enforcing State laws and regulations on the wearing or the carriage of personal flotation devices directly related to the following subject areas within the jurisdictional boundaries of the State: (a) Children on board any vessel; (b) Operating a canoe or kayak; (c) Operating a sailboard; and (d) Operating a personal watercraft.” (33 CFR 175.5). Like … 1 . 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A public recreation area and swimming used to be legal us and your... Sandy beaches at Point Lookout, to backyard streams and creeks she ’ s hoping the River s. Us and welcome your calls, letters, and keep cool and relax on a 's! Swim for the purpose of saving a drowning person, is shock “... To those in the Washington, DC area are the National Capital region Parks summer 's day are staying...