Near drowning at Ridgway State Park prompts call for paddleboarders to wear life vests | VailDaily.com

Near drowning at Ridgway State Park prompts call for paddleboarders to wear life vests

Man not wearing life vest requires rescuing by park rangers

Colorado Parks & Wildlife officials are urging paddleboarders to wear life vests, saying that falling into cold waters can cause serious problems.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife | Special to the Daily

A man stand-up paddleboarding at Ridgway State Park on Thursday had to be rescued by park rangers after he nearly drowned after the wind picked up and he fell off his board, according to a Colorado Parks & Wildlife news release. The man was not wearing a life vest.

Officials with CPW are encouraging stand-up paddleboarders to wear personal flotation devices when using SUP boards.

“So many people see paddleboards as low risk; but if you fall off your board into cold water you can get into trouble very quickly,” said Ridgway State Park manager Kristin Copeland in a news release.

On rivers or reservoirs, 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.

The danger is amplified on reservoirs and ponds in the afternoons in Colorado when fast-moving storms bring high winds and stir up waves. Water temperature is also a factor; even though the weather has been hot recently, water in rivers and reservoirs remain in the 50-degree range which will quickly impair swimming ability

According to CPW regulations, on any watercraft the number of life jackets on board must match the number of passengers. Anyone 13 years or younger 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,” Copeland said. “Please, wear your PFD.”

For more information about safe boating, go to: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/BoatingSafety.aspx.