DENVER, Colo. – As stand-up paddleboards become more and more popular, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds paddlers to wear personal floatation devices when using these watercraft.
On rivers or lakes, if a paddleboarder falls off there is no guarantee that the board will remain within reach. In rivers, the board can be pulled away by the current. In lakes a board can be pushed away quickly by the wind.
"If a board gets away from you and you have to make a long swim, especially in Colorado’s cold waters, you can get in trouble very quickly," said Heath Kehm, deputy regional manager for CPW’s southwest region.
The danger is amplified in the afternoons in Colorado when fast-moving storms bring high winds and stir up waves on lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Water temperature is also a factor: even though the weather has been hot recently, water in rivers and reservoirs remains cold which can quickly impair swimming ability.
At incidents at Ridgway State Park during the last month four adults who were not wearing life jackets had to be rescued after falling from paddleboards. Two youngsters who were wearing adult-sized life jackets also had to be rescued. The adult-sized PFDs did not support them in the water properly. Children must be fitted with properly sized PFDs.
According to CPW regulations, on any watercraft the number of life jackets on board must match the number of passengers. Anyone under age 13, when on the water, must wear a life jacket at all times. Every kind of craft is subject to the regulations, including paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and sailboards.
"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," Kehm said.
For more information about safe boating, go to: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/BoatingSafety.aspx.
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