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Colorado breaks record for yearly drownings after 3 recent deaths

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Life Jacket Loaner Program
Posted at 12:15 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 14:15:26-04

DENVER — Water recreation-related fatalities in Colorado pushed up to 36 after three recent drownings, making this year the deadliest on the state's waterways, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

Most recently, two people drowned at Dillon Reservoir in Summit County on Sept. 9, and a third person drowned on Sept. 11 in the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.

Previously, the record was 34 drownings, which was set in 2020. According to CPW, 24 people drowned in 2019, 34 in 2020, and 22 in 2021.

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CPW Boating Safety and Registrations Program Manager Grant Brown said the department noticed a few common themes in some of the drownings this year. It included alcohol and people swimming from shore, on tubes or paddling, he said.

Many rivers, lakes and reservoirs close in the winter, but boating may remain open yearround in other locations.

“As we move into fall, please stay vigilant when recreating on the water,” Brown said. “Protect yourself from the dangers of cold water immersion and shock by wearing a life jacket and being aware of weather conditions, and water temperatures where you plan to recreate. Boat sober, enjoy the water, but always do so with a life jacket on. They save lives."

In June, CPW said the state was on pace to break the record for the number of drownings in lakes and rivers.

At the time, Brown said the late snow would make for a later runoff, meaning more dangerous water conditions. This included more debris in the water moving at a higher velocity, he said.

CPW has more information on water and boating safety tips on its website here.