RiverCast is RED
 for Friday, 5/20/2022 at 8:30 PM
Skip Navigation LinksHome/Resources/Philadelphia’s Rivers and Streams FAQ

Philadelphia’s Rivers and Streams FAQ

When is swimming allowed in a Philadelphia river or stream?

Should I use a river for recreation if I have an underlying medical condition?

Should I use a river for recreation if I have a wound, sore, or open skin lesion?

What do I do if I get wounded in a river?

Is it safe for my pet to swim in a river?

When is swimming allowed in a Philadelphia river or stream?

Philadelphia's rivers and streams are not designated swimming areas. Swimming and bathing are not permitted outside of organized events (e.g., races, triathlons) due to risks of illness, drowning, injury from submerged objects (e.g., glass, fishhooks), strong currents, and other hazards.

Individuals, especially those with compromised immune systems, should consult their physician or healthcare provider before engaging in recreational activities that would place them in contact with river water and at risk for illness.

 Back to top

Should I use a river for recreation if I have an underlying medical condition?

Individuals who have a significant underlying medical condition (such as HIV, cancer, or other immune system impairment) should always consult with their physician or health care provider before engaging in recreational activities that would place them in contact with river water. River water is not sterile and may contain microorganisms, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. If swallowed, these microorganisms pose a health risk to individuals who have impaired immune systems.

To help prevent illness following recreational activities on a river, individuals should avoid swallowing river water and thoroughly wash off using potable water (e.g., drinking water) following any activity that involves contact with the river water.

 Back to top

Should I use a river for recreation if I have a wound, sore, or open skin lesion?

It is best to avoid exposing extensive wounds, sores, or open skin lesions to river water until they are healed (and any sutures or stitches are removed). If you expose a wound, sore, or open skin lesion to river water, thoroughly wash it with potable water.

 Back to top

What do I do if I get wounded in a river?

Seek medical attention for any wound or other injury that occurs while using a river for recreation. Wounds should be managed through careful cleaning, control of bleeding, and examination for foreign material. It is also important to keep your tetanus vaccination status up to date.

 Back to top

Is it safe for my pet to swim in a river?

The risks of using a river for recreation are the same for pets and their owners. Pets should not swim or bath in a river due to risks of illness, drowning, injury from submerged objects (e.g., glass, fishhooks), strong currents, and other hazards. Pets should never be left unattended at a river. If a pet is exposed to or immersed in river water, it should be thoroughly bathed with potable water.

 Back to top