Colorado Parks and Wildlife and reminds boaters to make safety a primary goal each time they launch their watercraft.
"Being safe is a big part of having a great time on your boat," said Ron Dellacroce, Park Manager at Elkhead State Park. "Following all rules and regulations and a thorough inspection of your craft and the required safety equipment is strongly recommended."
The required equipment may vary depending on the watercraft. At a minimum, boats must have one Personal Flotation Device per person on board and an approved sound producing device. Fire extinguishers are required on certain motorboats.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife stresses the importance of knowing which gear is required for your craft. For a detailed list of required equipment, go to www.bit.ly/boatequipment
Dellacroce says that in 2012, there were 10 recreational boating deaths across the state. In each case, the victim was not wearing a life jacket.
"A properly adjusted, approved PFD is required for each passenger in the boat," he reminded. "Prior to launching, they should be inspected and must be in good condition."
Because required safety equipment may be removed from a boat or damaged during the off-season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials offer a free, courtesy inspection at any state park where boating is allowed.
"Don't wait until a storm rolls in and the water becomes rough to find that you are missing your required gear," reminded Dellacroce.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges the public to wear their personal floatation device at all times, keep an eye on the weather, avoid alcohol and follow all boating rules and regulations. In addition, youth 12 years and younger are required to wear a personal flotation device at all times while boating.
During May, hours of operation for the boat ramp are from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. in June and July. In Aug., hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Sept. Boaters can launch a trailered boat only during these hours.
Park personnel remind boaters that all trailered or motorized vessels must go through an aquatic nuisance species inspection prior to launching. Boaters who launch without the required inspection will receive a citation.
ANS exempt vessels, including rafts, kayaks, belly boats, float tubes, canoes, windsurfer boards, sail boards or inner tubes can be launched anytime. Recommended access points for hand-launched craft include Greenwood Cove and the reservoir's North East Access.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks the public to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species by always cleaning, draining and drying your vessel.
Elkhead State Park features a variety of activities, including, boating, swimming, jet skiing, skiing, picnicking, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, meeting friends and neighbors, bird watching, biking, horseback riding hunting and fishing and many photo opportunities. The newly built Bear's Ears campground sits over the reservoir and offers convenience for boaters, skiers and anglers.
For more information about boating in Colorado, please visit www.bit.ly/cpwboating, or www.bit.ly/coboatregs
For more information about aquatic nuisance species, please visit www.bit.ly/stopans, and also www.bit.ly/boatinspections
To reserve a campsite at any Colorado State Park, please visit www.bit.ly/cpwparkreservations
To purchase a fishing or hunting license online, please visit www.bit.ly/cpwonlinelicenses
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more, please visit cpw.state.co.us