Enjoy the water, but always do so with a life jacket on – they save lives!
DENVER – As boat ramps open and warmer temperatures entice people to recreate on the water, Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges people to wear a life jacket and boat responsibly this summer.
In honor of National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27, 2022, CPW is promoting safe boating tips to educate outdoor enthusiasts on how to take caution on Colorado waters while enjoying water sports like boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and fishing.
With increased visitation in outdoor spaces throughout the state, water-based recreation remains a popular pastime in Colorado. There have already been four drownings in Colorado this year. In 2021, there were 22 total drownings in Colorado, which was down from the 34 drownings in 2020. That 2020 figure is the highest number of drownings on record in the state.
“We recommend all boaters and passengers wear a life jacket while on the water at all times,” said Grant Brown, Boating Safety Program Manager for CPW. “Regardless of your age or experience level, the data shows that life jackets save lives. We want people to have fun on the water and not be afraid of it, so we encourage you to bring the proper safety gear so you have a positive outdoor experience.”
Before heading out on the water, Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises the following boating safety tips:
- Wear your life jacket
- Take a Boating Safety Class in Colorado
- Carry all required safety gear
- Get a safety inspection of your vessel
- Review navigation techniques
- Be aware of weather and water conditions
- Boat sober- Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.
It is important that boaters take into account the risks that weather can present while recreating on the water. Dangerous weather conditions that raise concerns are unpredictable strong wind gusts that can knock a paddleboarder or kayaker into the water, and cold water temperatures that exist year-round in Colorado.
In addition to recreating responsibly on Colorado’s waters, boaters are reminded to help keep state waterways clean from aquatic invasive species. Colorado lakes and reservoirs are free of invasive mussels, but more boats were found with mussel infestations in 2021. Mussels are destructive to aquatic habitats and can seriously damage reservoir infrastructure and cause problems on boats.
For more information on boating safety, visit cpw.state.co.us. To learn more about aquatic nuisance species and CPW’s program, visit: https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ISP-ANS.aspx
or read the Boater’s Guide to ANS Inspections.