A Pueblo man and his son died after drowning in the Arkansas River on Sunday afternoon, and two soldiers died earlier this month while swimming in Lake Pueblo -- that's prompting Colorado Parks & Wildlife to issue a reminder to stay safe in waterways.
If you and your family are planning on hitting the water this summer - make sure you do so safely with these tips:
- Wear a life-jacket
- Never underestimate the power of the water you're swimming in: According to Arkansas River Tours, even water that looks calm can have powerful currents and cold temperatures that can really impact your ability to swim.
- Familiarize yourself with proper swimming techniques: One of the most common techniques is the "down-river swimmer's position". This position is useful if you get ejected from your raft and are trying to make your way back to it. Lie on your back, with your nose and toes pointed to the sky. Your knees should be slightly bent so your feet and legs can act as shock absorbers if you ever hit any rough terrain.
- Never stand in a moving current: In fact, most guides never walk in water over their shins. This is to prevent what's called "foot entrapment" - which is when your foot gets stuck at the bottom of the river. This is a dangerous position to be in as it can leave you susceptible to drowning should the current push you completely underwater.
- Stay in your boat: If you do fall out, do not panic and make your way back as quickly and safely as possible.
Officials with Colorado Springs Parks and Wildlife say it's been a challenging last few months because of the increased number of visitors coming to Lake Pueblo State Park.
There have now been at least four drownings at the lake this season alone.
They're now adding more officers to monitor the water on the weekends.
Listen up, Colorado: 5 people drowned in reservoirs in our state last weekend. None wore personal flotation devices.— Colorado Parks and Wildlife (@COParksWildlife) June 18, 2020
Reservoir water is cold and SUPs are especially vulnerable to being blown over by wind. PLEASE wear a PFD on the water and make sure those with you wear one too. pic.twitter.com/W5zswjNFEI