PUEBLO — It's been a dangerous season on the water at Lake Pueblo State Park, and Father's Day Weekend is the busiest time of the year on the lake.
Joe Stadterman, the park manager, said because of the large crowds, they'll have more park rangers and patrols out on the water this weekend. With four drownings so far this year, they're also stressing the importance of being safe while at the lake.
“I think it's going to be as busy as a typical holiday weekend would be, but with an emphasis on boating, it seems like all the dads want to come out and go boating with their families,” said Stadterman.
He says Colorado Parks and Wildlife crews are planning and getting ready for a busy weekend ahead. Park rangers will be making sure people are taking their own safety seriously, like having a life jacket for every person on board.
“We're going to try and get as many rangers as we can onto the water. and then also, we're gonna try and move some more land rangers down onto the beaches,” said Stadterman.
Stadterman says some of the tragedies that occur at Lake Pueblo originate from the beaches and into the waters. Plus, most drownings happen when people aren’t wearing their life jacket.
“A lot of these incidents that we've had, we've had patrol boats on the water. Really, I think we feel strongly that almost all boating accidents are preventable,” said Stadterman.
He also mentioned that drownings typically happen earlier in the season when the water is colder, which has held true at Lake Pueblo state park this year.
So right now, the biggest priority for park rangers, is people’s safety. They’re currently having internal discussions about better ways to engage the community, and make sure they’re taking their safety seriously.
“We know that getting people to wear their life jackets, on making that decision on their own, is much more powerful than us going out riding tickets,” said Stadterman. “We’re trying to change the culture where in motor vehicles, people wear seatbelts all the time. They don't think twice about when they get in, and they click their seatbelt. But that's not the same when people are in water.”
Paddle boarders, plus people on canoes and kayaks must also know the law too. You have to have your life jacket on board with you, or you could face a minimum fine of $102. Of course, it is recommended to wear your life jacket too.
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