Four people have drowned in Colorado since last October. That includes 17-year-old Keith Ridgway. The Falcon teen disappeared on March 21st after his canoe capsized at John Martin Reservoir. Over the weekend, Bent County crews recovered his body.
Officials say Ridgway was not wearing a life jacket. That serves as a reminder about the importance of wearing these devices, according to State Park Officer John Perez. He is on duty at the Pueblo Reservoir, and sees people taking chances every day when they’re on the water.
Over the next few weeks as the weather warms up, more people will head to the Pueblo Reservoir. But Perez says, before you take your boat out on the water, it's important to dust off the cobwebs. He says it’s important to make sure the motor is running properly.
Perez also says boaters should check safety equipment and replace anything that’s not functioning. "Check your life jackets. Check the fire extinguisher. Make sure the horn is working. Make sure there's a first aid kit onboard the boat."
Perez also suggests you re-familiarize yourself with boating law and safety rules. A new law went into effect last July that says children 12-years and under must wear a properly-fitting life jacket at all times on board any type of boat. And he says park officers will be enforcing that law.
In addition, each person onboard who is over the age of 12, must have a life jacket with them. And Perez recommends that they wear it. "Being a swimmer doesn't take the place of wearing your life jacket."