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). 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. These pipes are in the process of getting fixed, but before they are, wait out the overflow aftermath. 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. The Coast Guard is proposing to establish special local regulations for certain waters of the Upper Potomac River. The … Who needs a pool when we live by the water? 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). # swimmablepotomac # cleanwater # WaterIsLife # potomacriver # swimdrinkfish But there are some hazards in her way. Where are the best beaches? That sounds strange, but it’s time to clear up a few points and to provide tips to make your summer cool. “You look at other cities, and their rivers are full of dams and levees. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. Federal regulations do indeed specifically restrict swimming and wading in the Potomac River. Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? When will there be waterslides into the river??? and upstream of the Maryland-District Columbia line.” (COMAR 08.06.01.03). Bethesda, MD 20817 What is in the Potomac River’s water? 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. Is it safe to swim or boat in the Potomac? Trees and other large debris can lurk just below the water's surface and pose serious danger to those in the river. 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. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Bottom line: It is illegal to swim between Great Falls and the Maryland/DC line. **WARNING: SWIMMING IS PROHIBITED IN D.C. When this occurs, runoff flows directly into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. Share your story! Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? Both organizations, Rock Creek Conservancy, and their volunteers conduct extensive hands-on activities to improve our rivers. Starting in Tenleytown, Foundry Branch goes through multiple DC neighborhoods before entering the Potomac River. 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. The annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment is growing in popularity as a distance swim event. 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 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. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. If you're boating and wearing a personal flotation device and you happen to fall in, that is not illegal. © 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. For safety reasons, swimming in the Potomac is illegal between Great Falls and the southern Maryland/DC line. The CFR Exemption (“personal flotation devices”). These 10 Potomac River fishing hotspots should enter into every angler's calculations. upstream of a line beginning at the base of Stubblefield Falls” and (b) between “100 yards above the crest of Dam No. 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. Disgusting, right? “The Potomac especially is very deceptive, it has some spots that look very calm, very tranquil, look very easy to swim in,” he says. The answer is - it is and it isn’t. 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). 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. Quiz: What's up with swimming in the Potomac River? One of our favorite spots for cooling off on the river is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Glancing down, you see a plastic bag half buried in the sand. For years it has been illegal to swim in the Potomac River in Washington, DC because high levels of bacteria sometimes make it unsafe. 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). 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. The CFR Restriction (“Bathing, swimming, or wading”). There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. We've got a few tips on how you can fight these invaders and protect native fish. Streamside Scavenger Hunt: Can you find these flowers? It gives you pause. Bacterial levels and current may create a safety concern, depending on time of year, weather, and other factors. 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)). 10 local places to splash, swim, and keep cool this summer. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. 10411 Motor City Drive 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. 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. 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 . "Is it safe to swim in the Potomac River?". Here’s how our team is getting outside and enjoying the river while social distancing…now tell us your story! Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? Find out how in our visitor’s guide, including 6 adventure activities. The most common response when he tells people, he said, is shock: “You go swimming where? And, if so, do the laws contain any exceptions? 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. Check out the Washington Post's interactive mapto view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. We don't spam or share your information. 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. 128k members in the washingtondc community. 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. Is swimming illegal in the Potomac River? Now more than ever, we all need the mental and physical health benefits of getting outside. Discover how the Potomac has helped Emily, and what she hopes for its future. It doesn’t work. In … Check out the Washington Post's interactive map to view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. Assuming you're at a stretch of river where it is legal to swim (always check! “If it … He chose the Potomac River, forever identifying it as the “Nation’s River.”But even more significant than Washington’s riverside estate at Mt. 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). Like … except for the purpose of saving a drowning person, is prohibited.” (36 CFR 7.96(e)). But it is advisable that you get back in your boat ASAP. Kayak Photo credit © William MacFarland, courtesy of MacFarlandPhoto.net. 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. Technically it’s still illegal to swim in the Potomac from Georgetown. 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. Consult Request. Bacteria is also a serious concern. But how can you take advantage of the winter outdoors without it feeling like a chore? George Washington could have built his home anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard. We’ll keep you updated on local river news, wildlife, and fun outdoor events. Is the Potomac still too polluted to swim in? Like … We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. . . 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. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We used to have beaches on the Potomac and swimming used to be legal! 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. “The Potomac is a natural river to this day, which is unusual,” Peck says. Suite 750 #6E Don’t let the calm-looking water fool you! The COMAR Restriction (“recreational use”). It's a short drive from downtown DC and the perfect way to keep cool and relax on a summer's day. After strong storms, drainage and sewage pipes in and around Washington, DC can overflow. Hiring an attorney is an important decision which should not be based solely on advertising. 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. The term skinny-dip was first recorded in English in 1947. I’ve been meaning to post this forever, mostly cause I have these totally awesome photos sitting in a folder. 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. Longman & Van Grack regularly advises clients regarding sports and recreation legal issues within our Sports and Recreation Law Practice. Genuinely useful tips for getting outside this winter. 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. Bacteria occur naturally in the water, but there are certain kinds – like E. coli – that are good indicators of sewage pollution. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. There are still extremely strong currents under the water that can pull the unaware swimmer down into the river’s depths. Last year, the state of West Virginia officially opened it as a public recreation area. The “areas covered” by the CFR Restriction are the National Capital Region Parks. We have to make it safe for people to go in the water. As summer heats up, here are our picks for safe, open, clean water spots in the Potomac River regions to cool off. WILD SWIMMING - THE LEGAL SIDE . Is is safe? This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. 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. There are exceptions for those who operate a boat, canoe, or kayak and happen to fall in wearing a personal floatation device. Loudoun developed a plan to "bank" wintertime flows in the Potomac River. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. 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