Voice of the consumer: Learn water safety before summer activities begin

Katie Pelton
Katie Pelton(KKTV)
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:34 AM MDT
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Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - We are coming off the deadliest year ever on the waters in Colorado.

Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start to summer — is almost here, so I’m talking with Colorado Parks and Wildlife about safety measures we should all take.

“We’re coming off the deadliest year in Colorado with 42 water-related fatalities, so we want to try to avoid that this year. Eighty percent of water-related deaths, the person was not wearing a life jacket,” said Joey Livingston with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Most were not wearing a life jacket. A vast majority were actually on paddle boards, kayaks or swimming. So a lot of activities people think are safer, closer to shore, can actually be deadly, as well.”

CPW said it’s not good enough to have your life jackets on the boat; you need to wear them. Accidents happen fast, and you don’t have enough time to grab your jacket that is stowed away under a seat and put it on.

Plus, in cold water, shock and hypothermia can happen in just minutes.

“In Colorado, the water can be very cold, even when it’s warm outside. It can be 80 degrees outside, and if that water is below 70 degrees, cold-water emergent shock can set in. It can make it really hard to swim in those cold waters,” said Livingston. “Even down at Lake Pueblo, it can be really hot outside, but the water is very cold and it can make it hard.”

Parks officials tell me it’s hard on them to respond to those cases.

“It’s just very frustrating. Working here for so long, and seeing the toll it takes on some of our parks officers who have to go out and patrol and have to go out and save people, sometimes recover bodies, it takes a huge toll on those folks,” Livingston said. “They become pretty frustrated when they see people without life jackets on. So we do enforce the laws around life jackets, as well.”

“There’s a lot of new types of life jackets,” Livingston added. “I’m wearing one that’s pretty slim for fishermen, has all the pockets you need, some mobility to be able to cast your fishing pole. There’s many other options on the market, as well, that can help save your life.”

You may have seen some of us wearing life jackets during “11 News at 9.” You can watch the full interview at KKTV.com. Click on “Find It” for more information about boating safety.

Bench warrant scam

Also, a quick heads up from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office. It warns that scammers are calling claiming to be deputies. The caller claims you have a bench warrant out for your arrest and demands you wire money right away.

It’s a big red flag if a caller asks you to wire money, pay by gift card or cryptocurrency. The scammers spoof the number to make the Caller ID look like it’s coming from the sheriff’s office.

Deputies warn the scammers can use an app that makes numbers and recorded messages appear to be legitimate. The sheriff’s office said it does not make calls regarding outstanding warrants, and it would never process payments for a warrant over the phone.

If you get a call like this, hang up. You can call the sheriff’s office using a legitimate number if you are concerned.

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.