Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) maintains legal oversight of the reservoir and prohibits swimming. Crews share the reservoir with fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards.
There is a reservoir map in the RRC bay at the boathouse. The downstream/upstream limits to safe rowing are the following:
South Fork Rivanna dam: 3000 meters (1.9 miles) downstream from the boathouse is the South Fork Rivanna dam. Do not pass the warning buoys, do not approach the dam. You could die, if you/your boat are washed over it.
Reas Ford Bridge, “The Little Bridge”: Approximately 5500 meters (3.4 miles) upstream is the Reas Ford Road bridge across the Rivanna (aka “Little Bridge”). As you head upstream the river becomes progressively narrower, with tighter turns. Be aware that in times of low rainfall you may be unable to row safely to the Little Bridge and launches may not be able to get far upstream at all. Long before you reach that point, the reservoir upstream becomes a progressively narrower river with tighter turns – even when reservoir water levels are high.
At various spots in the reservoir, there are white plastic poles (PVC pipe) or buoys to mark lanes or hazards:
PVC poles are placed to warn you of sandbars or shallow sections just below the surface on which even a single sculler can run aground.
Beware: there are other occasional sandbars, logs, weed patches and shallow spots which are not marked – especially upstream and especially in summer; you will need to keep an eye on conditions below the water’s surface.
VRA/UVA have a 2,000-meter buoyed course between the Earlysville Road bridge and the dam.