LITTLETON, Colo. - As the temperatures go up and the ice goes down, most Coloradans begin putting away the skies and breaking out the boats. Whether you like to take your 21' cruiser out to your favorite lake or canoe down the Arkansas River, here's a few rules from the Colorado State Parks' boating program to keep it fun all summer long;
Boat Safe: Remember to check all of your safety equipment to make sure it's in good condition, especially your life jackets. In 2011, nine people drown in boating accidents and five of them weren't wearing a life jacket. A lot of people believe they can swim their way out of a bad spot, not realizing the effect our cold water will have on them. A great alternative for everyone 16 and older is a U.S. Coast Guard-approved inflatable life jacket. They're very comfortable and provide about twice the flotation as an inherently buoyant vest. Don't be a number. "Wear It Colorado!" is part of a national boating safety campaign, www.safeboatingcampaign.com
Boat Smart: Of all the boaters involved in an accident last year, only 17% had any type of boating safety education. In 2012, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and our partners are hosting 107 boating safety review sessions at 28 locations throughout the state, April - September. These are open to the public and encouraged for all boaters, but required for motorboat drivers 14 - 15 years old. If interested in a class, please look at the schedule online at www.parks.state.co.us/Boating
and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to reserve a spot. Not only can it keep you and your family safer, but it can also save you 5-10% on your boat insurance.
Boat Sober: In 2010, boating under the influence of alcohol was a primary contributing factor in almost 20% of all recreational boating fatalities. Everyone knows how dangerous it is to drive a car after drinking alcohol, but due to the sun, heat and other stressors with boating, these effects are multiplied. And, boaters are generally less experienced driving a boat than a car or another vehicle. Boating under the influence (BUI) rarely just affects the operator who's drinking; everyone on the lake is at risk when there's an impaired boater. Play it safe on the water, pick a sober skipper!
Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets everyone outdoors! Attracting more than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado's 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado's economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 224,447 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state's favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,300 campsites, and 63 cabins and yurts. For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit www.parks.state.co.us