LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — Boating season is underway and Memorial Day Weekend is expected to be especially busy.
As people gear up for outdoor activities on the water, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is sharing safety tips to prevent a search and rescue situation.
Grant Brown, Colorado boating safety program manager, said it’s important to keep an eye on the afternoon storms that roll in from the west.
“If you can be off the water ahead of it, then we recommend that, but if you get caught on the water then you might have to ride out that storm,” Brown said.
CPW said 2022 was Colorado’s deadliest year on the water with 36 deaths. Brown said a majority of those deaths occurred from people swimming, paddleboarding or kayaking without life jackets.
“One of the key contributing factors is cold water emersion, cold water shock coupled with no life jackets, so the biggest thing for us is life jackets,” Brown said.
It’s something Carl Koonsman said the Coast Guard Auxilary Patrol is helping CPW enforce during the holiday weekend.
“We come out two or three times a month during the heavy boating season,” Koonsman said. “Our role is education, so if we see something that doesn’t make sense we try to talk to them.”
Brown said they want everyone to have fun this season but know before you go.
“Make sure you have all your gear, all your safety equipment, know where it is, and just be ready to enjoy our parks safely,” Brown said.
Chatfield Reservoir, along with others, has loaner life jacket stations for those who need to borrow one for the day usually stationed around the park and at the boat ramps.
Brown said anyone on a boat, paddleboard or kayak must have a life jacket on board.
CPW is also reminding boaters to make sure their boats are registered and have gone through the necessary inspections before hitting the water.