Coast guard warning N.W.T. boaters of low water on Mackenzie River

The CCGS Dumit outside of Inuvik in July 2024. It's route is being changed because of low water levels on the Mackenzie River. (Dez Loreen/CBC - image credit)
The CCGS Dumit outside of Inuvik in July 2024. It's route is being changed because of low water levels on the Mackenzie River. (Dez Loreen/CBC - image credit)

The Canadian Coast Guard is warning boaters who use the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories to use extreme caution because of low water levels.

According to a news release issued Thursday, the coast guard is urging particular caution between Wrigley Harbour on Great Slave Lake and the entrance of the Aklavik Channel, near Inuvik.

It says conditions are also impacting its own operations in the region. The coast guard says it can't carry out some on-water responses, like pollution investigations. Some areas of the river are too low for vessels to access, so navigational markers like buoys are not being put in usual spots.

Shane Sadoway, the director of navigational programs for the Arctic region of the Canadian Coast Guard is encouraging all boaters to exercise safety when on the river and to keep their eyes alert for lower than usual areas of water.

"We're working with both the Government of the Northwest Territories and commercial partners in monitoring water levels to do our best to keep everybody safe," said Sadoway.

The routines for two coast guard vessels are being changed until conditions improve. The CCGS Dumit is operating on the Mackenzie River between the Aklavik channel near Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. The CCGS Ekaloo will stay on Great Slave Lake.

The coast guard says it's monitoring the water levels and will return to full service as soon as possible. It's encouraging boaters to share trip plans with others and to wear life jackets on open water.