Going out on the stand-up paddleboard is a great way to experience our state's waters, so Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging boarders to stay safe while on rivers and reservoirs.
"Paddleboarding is easy to learn and almost anyone can have fun doing it," said Scott Rist, head ranger at Paonia, Sweitzer Lake and Crawford state parks. "But because it's easy, a lot of people don't realize that you can get in trouble when you fall off. We urge everyone to wear life jackets and use a tether."
Every year Colorado State Park rangers report that paddleboarders must be rescued after they've been separated from their boards. Most lakes and reservoirs in Colorado are windy; if you fall off your board the wind can push a board out of reach. On rivers boards can flow out of reach on the moving water. Combine that with very cold water and boarders can get in trouble quickly.
"We still have a lot of snow in the mountains and the run-off is coming later than usual this year, so cold water temperatures will be an issue throughout the summer," Rist said.
Colorado boating regulations treat paddleboards like any other water craft. Every craft -from powerboats to canoes - must carry a personal floatation device for each person on board, and a sound-producing device such as a whistle must also be on board. Children under age 13 must wear a personal floatation device when on the water. Life jackets for children must also be fitted properly to give them safe buoyancy in the water.
"Anything can happen at any time on the water, so we urge people to be cautious and consider their own and their loved one's safety while they're enjoying the water," Rist said.