DENVER (KDVR) — Many are heading to Colorado’s beautiful lakes and reservoirs as the Labor Day holiday weekend begins.
The U.S. Coast Guard reports there were 4,040 boating accidents in 2022, with alcohol use being the leading known contributing factor in fatalities.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports the leading causes of death on the water are capsizing and operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.
“Boating under the influence on any body of water in Colorado is something that we take very seriously, and we do not want to see it,” said Luke Stucker, senior ranger.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers rode along with Stucker and ranger Mitchell Ramm as they monitored Cherry Creek Reservoir.
Watching for impaired boaters
Safety checks include monitoring any inappropriate behavior.
“Are they going at a wake speed in a slow, no-wake area? Are they coming into the marina super fast when they know they should be going very slow? Do they have life jackets on?” Stucker said.
CPW advises that anyone planning on entering the water on any type of craft makes a safety plan before leaving the dock.
“If you decide that, hey, I want to go ahead and have a beer or a drink, OK — just make sure that you have somebody of legal age that is sober to drive that boat,” Stucker said.
Penalties for drinking while boating include fines and jail time.
It is also important that every passenger wears a life preserver. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 83% of those who drowned in 2022 were not wearing life jackets.