New radar detection safety in the Niagara River

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and New York Power Authority (NYPA) have launched a public safety detection and alerting system that will help around the vicinity of the International Niagara Control Works in Niagara Falls.

"Boaters who fail to stay clear of marked exclusion zones are exposing themselves to a real risk due to the high turbulence and strong currents which can be encountered near the International Control Dam," said Mike Martelli, OPG President, Renewable Generation.

"This new radar system that can detect even very small craft like canoes and paddle boards is a big leap forward in public safety for the many people who use the Niagara River both recreationally and commercially," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO. 

The safety system, designed by Niagara Falls-based company Accipiter Radar, is designed to help detect, track and identify recreational users who may be in danger due to hazardous conditions, whether through mechanical failure, disregarding warning signage or deliberate risk taking. 

A steerable high-powered acoustic device, equipped with search light and high-resolution camera, will enable the nearby International Control Works operators to assess the situation and provide an audible alert that the approaching vessel is in imminent danger.

Both OPG and NYPA began implementing the new technology in November. 

Accipiter is currently working on a new generation of the system that will give an early warning of ice floes and help steer NYPA and OPG ice cutting crews to areas with potential ice build-ups that can cause flooding and hinder power generation.