Using a steerable high-powered acoustic device equipped with a search light and a high resolution camera, operators at the INCW are now monitoring the river day and night for vessels that inadvertently or deliberately approach restricted or risky areas. Vessels in imminent danger will be confronted with an audible alert to turn back.
The radar is currently tracking watercraft on the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool between the INCW and the North Grand Island Bridge as well as between the INCW and the Horseshoe Falls.
“Boaters who fail to stay clear of marked exclusion zones are exposing themselves to a real risk due to the high turbulence and strong currents which can be encountered near the International Control Dam,” warned Mike Martelli, OPG President of Renewable Generation.
The OPG-operated INCW diverts huge amounts of water on the Niagara River, dispatching it between OPG’s Sir Adam Beck generating stations and NYPA’s Robert Moses Niagara station in accordance with the 1950 Niagara Treaty. As part of this accord, the 18-gate dam also ensures enough water is diverted to Niagara Falls during tourist season.
While this new tool will help ensure the public’s safety, boaters are held responsible for their own navigation safety and must obey all warning signs and buoys, Martelli said.