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Water Rescue

The Waterloo Fire Department's water rescue team is equipped to respond to water-related emergencies in lakes and rivers throughout the area. Our highly trained personnel and specialized equipment allow us to provide efficient and effective water rescue services. We strive to ensure the safety of all our citizens and visitors in and around the great lakes and rivers of Waterloo.

Elkhorn River Safety Tips

  • Always remember to have planned start/end time to your float and let someone know when you'll be back.

  • Bring Water! Dehydration leads to confusion and poor judgment.

  • Check local weather forecasts. Never float the river with inclement weather predicted, conditions can change fast!

  • River levels can change drastically in a matter of hours check the river levels at

  • Have fun but always remember to respect public and private property.

​What to do in an emergency?

  • Always have one or more in the group with a cell phone.

  • Keep your group together, know where you need to exit the river.

  • Call 911- state your last landmark, bridge, street sign or building you have seen. This information is critical to provide the rescuers.

  • In an Emergency situation find a location to stand and stay stationary. Wave arms above head to signal to rescuers you are in distress.

Life Jacket Requirements

  • Any child 16 or under is required by law to wear a CoastGuard approved PFD or life jacket at all times.

  • All others who are floating the river on a tube, kayak, or boat are required by law to have a Coast Guard approved life jacket within reach.

  • Water levels impact float times. Normal water levels after the months of July are lower, expect longer float times.

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