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Water Safety: Lakes, Rivers and Reservoirs - April 2023 Trauma Talk

Wear an appropriate life jacket when on or near the water.

Life jackets can prevent drowning during water activities. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 658 boating-related deaths in 2021—81% died by drowning, and 83% of these people were not wearing life jackets. 

Boaters must carry one wearable PFD (personal flotation device) for each person on board. If the boat is more than 16 feet in length, an additional throwable device is required.

The U.S. Coast Guard approves five different types of PFDs. View Life Vest Information and Illustrations at .

Stand-up paddleboards are considered vessels in Colorado and require a life jacket on board at all times.

Keep young children in life jackets and within reach when near or on the water.

Respect your limitations to ensure your safety as well as those around you.

Check weather and water conditions

Water conditions can be very cold and lead to hypothermia

Rivers flowing at high levels can be extremely dangerous for recreating at times due to unexpected changes in depth, undercurrents and potential debris.

Avoid water during any thunder/lightning storms as lightening is more likely to strike water than land.

Use Alcohol in moderation when recreating near or on the water.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of water related deaths.

Water safety tips are brought to you by the Western Slope Trauma Collaborative.