This is Why There’s No Reason To Be Without a Life Jacket on the Colorado River
We're looking to hit 104 degrees next Monday (July 17, 2023) in Western Colorado. Temperatures like that tend to motivate Coloradans to hit the water. Do you have your life jacket?
If you're planning to spend time on the Colorado River this year, make sure to bring your life jacket. You say you don't have one? That's okay. Even if you don't own a lifejacket, or have access to one, there's still no reason to be on the water without one. Here's why.
Safety on Colorado Rivers
According to CPR News, by mid-June of 2022, the state of Colorado had already recorded 16 drowning deaths for the year. Two of the tragedies occurred on June 15. Looking back to the year 2020, Colorado suffered 34 drowning deaths.
Life Jackets All Along the Colorado River in the Grand Valley
If you visit the Colorado River at various launches in Palisade, Clifton, Grand Junction, and Fruita, you'll find life jackets located nearby. The Grand Valley is home to the Save-A-Life Life Jacket Program.
How Does It Work?
Very simple. You'll find a number of kiosks along the Colorado River. These can be found at:
- Palisade Rim Launch
- Riverbend Launch
- Corn Lake Launch
- Las Colonias Launch (2 locations)
- Connected lakes Launch
- Blue Heron/Redlands Parkway
- Fruita Launch
From these kiosks, you can borrow, use, and return a life jacket. Really, it's just that simple.
Are There Enough Life Jackets To Go Around?
Well, that's a great question. In order to best answer it, I conducted a poor man's experiment at Harry's Launch at Palisade, Colorado's Riverbend Park.
Every time I visit this park, I stop to take a photo of the kiosk. Take a look at the photos below and see for yourself.
Let's take a look and get the best count we can. To my eyes, I see 14 life jackets, all ready and available to anyone who might need one. How about the next week's visit?
The count looks to come in at 12. In addition, it looks as though the kiosk contains jackets appropriate for larger adults all the way to smaller children.
A week later and.... a total of at least 13 life jackets for people of all ages and sizes.
Much Nicer Than What We Used To Have
Living in Grand Junction back in the 1970s, we typically spent quite a bit of time on the water. Back then, though, we had these crusty orange life vests made out of a material closely resembling sandpaper. Everybody owned a set. Those pieces of junk would literally take your hide off. In addition, each one came equipped with a wicked case of the killer stinkies. One had to conduct some serious soul-searching when deciding whether it was in their best interest to wear one.
Fast forward to 2023, and there's no discussion on the matter. These life jackets are of excellent quality, available, and free for you to borrow and use. All that's asked is you return it at one of the many kiosks along the river. It's the best deal in town. Take advantage of it.