With summer officially here, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding everyone who uses the state's rivers, lakes, and reservoirs to use a personal flotation device (PFD).
CPW said water sports are a great way to have fun in the sun, but it's important to keep best safety practices in mind.
CPW also said water is still very cold, and falling into water that's barely 50 degrees means hypothermia can set in quickly and could be life-threatening. That cold water can have even more of an impact when people are unexpectedly thrown overboard and need to swim while in distress.
“You should always wear a life vest, paddle with a buddy, know your limitations and scout rapids prior to floating them,” said Grant Brown, boating safety program manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Drownings are not uncommon in Colorado, and park rangers and search and rescue teams have already responded to several this season, including five last weekend.
Regulations say the number of PFDs on a boat matches the number of people on board. Children 12 and under must always wear a PFD when on the water. Dogs are also encouraged to wear PFDs in case a boat unexpectedly capsizes.
Those interested in participating in a water sport can rent or loan equipment including PFDs at many state parks. CPW's park finder tool lists state parks that offer water activities and rental services.
Listen up, Colorado: 5 people drowned in reservoirs in our state last weekend. None wore personal flotation devices.— Colorado Parks and Wildlife (@COParksWildlife) June 18, 2020
Reservoir water is cold and SUPs are especially vulnerable to being blown over by wind. PLEASE wear a PFD on the water and make sure those with you wear one too. pic.twitter.com/W5zswjNFEI