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National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27, 2022

May 23, 2022

It's National Safe Boating Week, a great reminder to 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 always to wear a life jacket and boat responsibly. It's important to remember that safety on the water is everyone's responsibility, and there is never a reason not to follow safety guidelines while boating.

Accidents can happen in an instant, and all boaters should always make it a habit to wear a life jacket. Children 13 years of age and under must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) on the water, except when they are in an enclosed cabin or below deck. 

No matter the type of watercraft, each person must have a PFD on board. This applies to paddleboards, sailboats, canoes, and any other type of watercraft. Visit the Safe Boating Campaign website to learn which life jacket style may be correct for you.


U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning is the reported cause of death in 80% of all boating fatalities, and approximately 85% of those who drown are not wearing life jackets.


The Safe Boating Campaign advises following these boating safety tips before going out on the water:

  1. 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. Ensure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity, and fits properly.
  3. Take a boating safety course. Learn valuable tips to help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course.
  4. Make sure your boat is prepared. Many items need to be checked and rechecked.
  5. Know your boat's capacity. If you have too much on your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize.
  6. Check the weather, including the water temperature. Keep a regular check for changing conditions.
  7. Dress properly. Always dress for the weather, wear layers if there is cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Don't drink alcohol while boating. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Find out more at operationdrywater.org.
  11. 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.
  12. Keep in touch. Communication devices can be the most critical piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency.

Boating is a favorite pastime of many Coloradans. Before boating in Colorado, it is important to familiarize yourself with Colorado's boating rules and regulations. Following proper safety procedures will help ensure a fun and safe season.

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.

For more information about boating safety and life jacket wear, visit safeboatingcampaign.com, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Source for statistics: Boating Safety Facts