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CPW News Release
CPW News Release
Colorado Parks and Wildlife observes National Safe Boating Week May 18-24

Colorado Parks and Wildlife observes National Safe Boating Week May 18-24
National Safe Boating Week runs May 18-24. Ensure your boating season is safe by having the right equipment and knowing Colorado's rules and regulations. Join Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff on "Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day," Friday, May 17.
Carson Ramsay
Communications and Media Intern
303-866-3203 x4691


Colorado Parks and Wildlife observes National Safe Boating Week May 18-24

DENVER - May 18-24 is National Safe Boating Week and Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters to think "safety first" when out on the water this season.

This designated week kicks off this year's Safe Boating Campaign, reminding people to always wear a life jacket and boat responsibly. With a great boating season ahead in Colorado, it’s important to remember that safety on the water starts with you.

As a kickoff to National Safe Boating Week, CPW and the Safe Boating Campaign encourages everyone to participate in “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” on Friday, May 17. This day aims to heighten awareness of the different types of life jackets available, demonstrating their comfort and versatility by wearing them to work. Members of the boating public, as well as those interested in showing the wearability of life jackets, are encouraged to participate.

Safety on the water is crucial during the boating season and CPW wants boaters to be prepared for the summer season ahead. With an above average snowpack this season, high water levels are anticipated across the state that may lead to hazardous conditions. Safety is everyone's responsibility, and there is never a reason to not follow safety guidelines while boating.

“We rely on our boaters to make sure that safety is the highest priority while they are out on the water, and this week is a great way to refresh people on safe boating standards,” said Jim Hawkins, boating safety and enforcement coordinator with CPW. “Wearing a life jacket each and every time a boater is out on the water is the easiest way to ensure safety while spending your day boating.”

The Safe Boating Campaign is led by the National Safe Boating Council and offers educational information and resources to support local boating safety efforts. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proud to share and support this message and to encourage Coloradans to be safe on the water.  Each year, educating the boating public about the safety and comfort of life jackets is a main focus of the campaign.

Accidents can happen in an instant, and all boaters should make it a habit of always wearing a life jacket. Children 13 years of age and under are required to wear a personal floatation device whenever they are on the water, except when they are in an enclosed cabin or below deck. No matter the type of watercraft, there must be a PFD on board for each person. This also applies to paddleboards, sailboat, canoes and any other type of watercraft.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2017 and that approximately 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Life jackets are available for every boating activity, and boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers wear it at all times while on the water. To learn more about which life jacket style may be correct for you, visit the Safe Boating Campaign Website.

The Safe Boating Campaign advises following these boating safety tips before going out on the water:
  1. Wear a life jacket. No matter what activity you have planned on the water, always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket.

  2. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems.

  3. Know state boating laws. Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time.

  4. Take a boating safety course. Learn valuable tips that can help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course.

  5. Make sure your boat is prepared. There are many items that need to be checked and rechecked on any boat.

  6. Be sure to know your boat’s capacity. If you have too much on your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize.

  7. Check the weather, including the water temperature. Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing conditions.

  8. Dress properly. Always dress for the weather, wearing layers if there is cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

  9. Always file a float plan. File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts. 

  10. Always follow navigation rules. Know the “Rules of the Road” such as operator’s responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations.

  11. Don’t drink alcohol while boating. Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of deaths in 2016. Find out more at

  12. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it.

  13. Keep in touch. Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency.

Before boating in Colorado, it is important to familiarize yourself with the boating rules and regulations. Boating is a favorite pastime of many Coloradans and visitors and adhering to regulations as well as following proper safety procedures will help ensure a fun and safe season.

Kick off this year's boating season with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the National Safe Boating Campaign by participating in Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day and National Safe Boating Week. Help ensure that this boating season will be a great one by following the safety principles and always wearing a life jacket while out on the water. To learn more about boating in Colorado, please visit the CPW boating page.



CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.
Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, proudly wears his life jacket to work to help kick off National Safe Boating Week.
Wearing a life jacket is the easiest way to stay safe while boating. Ensure you have approved, properly sized personal flotation devices for each person onboard. 
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