Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dutch innovation improves safety of low head dams for paddlers (and for swimmers)

Every paddler with a little bit of experience knows that low head dams (weirs) are dangerous, potentially lethal. Though you won't find serious white water in the flat Netherlands (the one exception is DWD), the canals in the country are full with hydraulic engineering installations, such as artificial weirs, pumping stations, inlets et cetera, creating potentially dangerous situations. And accidents happen; an example with huge impact was 2 years ago on the river de Berkel, where two people drowned in the water flow behind a low head dam.

Dutch engineers of the consultancy firm Oranjewoud developed a simple but effective solution that claims to take away the risk of drowning at low head dams: the Safety-slide. Two weeks ago the first Safety-slide was put into use at the low head dam in the canal de Nieuwe Wetering near Laag Zuthem. At the occasion of the official opening a team of NKB-WW-coaches did a safety test in the flow behind the dam and demonstrated the effectiveness of the Safety-slide.

Note: Dutch engineers are businessmen: the Safety-Slide is patent-protected, patent number: 1036143.


Best Military Surplus said...

That patent protection makes me feel safer. The safety slide is a great idea. I just hope it works how it's supposed to.

Army Surplus said...

You're all geared up. Nice.