Increase in boating, water activities cause safety concerns

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife is increasing patrols on the water at Cherry Creek Reservoir due to the large increase in visitors.

Twenty-three-year-old Denver resident Jack Marshall has a little more time on his hands these days, thanks to the pandemic. So he went and bought himself an old school Kawasaki JS 550 standup jet ski.

“I was looking at jet skis because I had a lot of time off. I thought it would be a good idea to keep socially isolated while still having a really good time,” Marshall said.

He’s not alone. A lot of people have been drawn to the water sports at Cherry Creek State Park since COVID-19. The park saw a 300% increase in visitors in one month alone.

More people on the water means more concern for Colorado Parks and Wildlife rangers.

“We’ve got motor boats, ski boats, jet skis. You have got your paddlers, a growing number of paddlers out there too. Really dangerous for them to be out there,” said Grant Brown a CPW park ranger.

Brown has been a ranger for 12 years, and cautions anybody before hitting the reservoir:

“We had five drownings in two days last weekend.” 

None of the victims were wearing life vests. They were nearby, but Brown says nearby doesn’t count.

“You are a great swimmer when you are expecting to swim, not when your boat gets capsized and you’re in 50-degree water,” Brown said.

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