Communications Office

WARNING: Elkhorn River Level High & Water Safety Tips

The nicer weather and summer activities will begin to attract a heavy amount of traffic to our recreational waterways. Recently, the area has had multiple water rescue incidents and accidents. Please be aware that with the heavy amounts of rain that Central Nebraska has received, the Elkhorn River is higher than usual. This may be misleading when attempting to participate in water activities, in which citizens may end up in emergent situations as the river is moving fast and there are numerous items under the water surface that hold you down if you get caught. Be sure to use these river safety tips when kayaking or tubing this summer:

1.  Always wear an approved personal flotation device or life jacket when doing any activity in the water

2.  Know your ability and your limits, and choose the appropriate location for your level of experience

3.  Always try to have a partner when partaking in water related activities. If you go solo, make sure that someone knows where you are going

4.  Avoid drinking alcohol when you have plans to be in the water. Alcohol can slow reaction times, which could alter the outcome of an accident significantly

5.  Dress for the conditions – anticipate cool water temperatures which could lead to hypothermia

6.  Take plenty of water with you on your adventure

7.  Wear proper protective foot ware. The flood waters washed trash and debris along the river banks and in the river bed. Watch out for barbed wire, large tree limbs, and other unknown substances lodged underwater

The Elkhorn River is generally safe for kayakers with water levels at 4 ft. and tubers at 3’9”. Because the North Fork running through Norfolk is controlled it is generally safe anytime; but, when water gets over 3’6” it can flow quickly and cause issues with exiting the river at the designated exit point in a timely manner.

Please stay safe, so we can also keep our rescue personnel safe. Thank you and enjoy your float.


Contact: Shane Weidner, Public Safety Director

309 N. 5th Street, Norfolk, NE 68701

402-844-2010 or