May 2008

Colorado River Fact Sheet

Serious About Safety

The Colorado River

The Colorado River System is one of the most popular recreational boating systems in the United States. Although commercial travel is sparse, the lakes, reservoirs and river stretches that make up the Colorado River system attract recreational boaters in staggering numbers.

This popularity unfortunately results in significant numbers of boating accidents and fatalities every year. There are many factors for the accidents and deaths, but one thing is shared – lack of knowledge. Through partnerships, among state and local governments and businesses along the river system, we can turn these statistics around. The numbers and facts below do not tell the whole story, but with increased education and awareness, we can make a difference.

  • In 2006, 337 accidents, 185 injuries and 13 fatalities occurred on the river in Arizona, California, and Nevada.
  •  Life jackets are the best way to save lives.
  • In more than 80 percent of boating deaths, the victim did not wear a life jacket.
  • Life jackets are required wearing for kids under 12 in California and Nevada.
  • Kids 12 and under must wear life jackets in Arizona.
  • Kids have to wear them, but adults shouldtoo.


Contributing Factors For Accidents On The Colorado River

  •  Inattention and speed in congested space leads to accidents.
  • Inexperience is a factor on the Colorado River.
  • Many boaters know little about safety or boating laws of the state.
  • Boating laws often differ from state to state, but safety is universal.
  • Crowded or blocked navigation areas reduce maneuvering space.
  • A “party atmosphere” creates an environment of distraction and danger.
  • Alcohol adds problems.
  • The effects of alcohol while boating are amplified by motion and heat.
  • Drunken boaters die each year, usually from falls overboard.


Carbon Monoxide Issues

  • Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that accumulates around motorboats.
  • Although carbon monoxide is always a danger in a marine environment, some activities have proven more hazardous than others. Some risky and illegal activities include rafting up with other vessels with engines running, teak surfing or body surfing in a vessel’s wake, swimming around vessels or sitting on the swim step with engines running.


More Information: