River Safety

Individuals should never enter the river without a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (PFD). The Rappahannock River is inherently dangerous, and swimming is not recommended. Strong currents and an uneven river floor with debris that cannot be seen above the water increase the risk factors. Even the strongest swimmers as well as those who are only wading in the shallow water can unexpectedly find themselves in need of assistance.

Swimming is discouraged at Old Mill Park. In the event of a water emergency, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • No additional people should enter the water to lend assistance. Remember: "Reach or throw; don't go"
  • Call 9-1-1 and identify the location of the emergency with as much information as possible.
  • There are river locator numbers near the Old Mill Park side of the river, and advising the emergency dispatcher of the number nearest the emergency will help.


In an effort to promote river safety, the Fredericksburg Fire Department has produced and distributed flyers to Old Mill Park visitors. The flyer is available in English and Spanish.

En un esfuerzo para promover seguridad del río, el cuerpo de bomberos de Fredericksburg ha producido y los aviadores distribuidos al molino viejo parquean a visitantes. El aviador está disponible en inglés y español.