COLORADO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said recent drownings have pushed the total water recreation deaths in Colorado to 36, making 2022 the deadliest year on record.

According to CPW, after a double drowning on Sept. 9 at Dillon Reservoir and a third drowning on Sept. 11 in the Corn Lake section of James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park, Colorado’s total water recreation deaths reached 36. The previous record was 34 reached in 2020.

“Some common themes we saw in some of the drownings this year was the use of alcohol and people swimming from shore, on innertubes, or paddling,” said CPW Boating Safety and Registrations Program Manager Grant Brown. 

Mountain reservoirs close for the winter, but boating opportunities continue year-round in warmer areas. CPW said they don’t want anyone boating or fishing from shore to relax or forget their water safety practices.

“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.”

CPW advises the following boating safety tips before heading out onto the water.

  • Wear your life jacket when on or near the water.
  • Check the condition of your boat and all required boating safety gear.
  • Avoid boating alone and tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.
  • Stand-up paddleboards are considered vessels in Colorado and require a life jacket on board at all times.
  • Be knowledgeable of ice conditions before ice fishing.
  • Waterfowl hunters should be especially careful when hunting from a boat and wearing waders.

CPW urges the public to take water safety seriously. They said that many drownings occur with friends and family nearby and unable to help. To learn more about water safety visit CPW’s website.