Unattended Boats Divert Resources

News Release

Kayakers asked to put contact information on their boats | 9news.com

Date: June 19, 2024
Contact: Sgt. Mike Schilling
Email of Contact Person: [email protected]

Unattended Boats Cause False Alarms and Divert Resources

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office urges recreationists to write their name and contact information on paddleboards, kayaks, and rafts to prevent unnecessary searches. The Sheriff’s Office regularly responds to unattended vessels on Summit County’s lakes and rivers. Responders must assume the worst, often resulting in a search that draws on limited rescue resources. The simple fix is also required by law; all vessels, including paddle-craft, must have the owner’s name and address and should include a contact phone number.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to back-to-back calls for kayaks found unattended and floating on shorelines this week. On Monday (6/17/24) evening, someone reported an abandoned kayak on Dillon Reservoir’s Roberts Tunnel shoreline. A subsequent search found life jackets and paddles along the shoreline. Responders began a coordinated search. The parties eventually walked out from a trail and were safely transported back to the marina. 

On Tuesday (6/18/24) morning, somebody found a floating fishing kayak along the rocks of Dillon Reservoir’s Snake River inlet. Once again, responders started a coordinated search along the shoreline. Special Operations technicians utilized a drone to expedite the search. A bit later, the kayak's owners returned to the area safe and sound.

Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons emphasizes the legal requirement for all vessels, including paddle crafts, to display the owner's name and address. The sheriff stated, "This is not just a recommendation; it's the law. Furthermore, any vessel, whether it's a paddle board, kayak, canoe, or any other type, that has an engine attached, including electric trolling motors, must have a current Colorado Boating registration. These regulations are in place to ensure your safety and the efficient use of our rescue resources. Including a contact phone number is also highly recommended."

With 20 drownings in Colorado so far, 2024 is on pace to become the deadliest year ever on Colorado waters.

All boaters should be familiar with the 2024 Boating Handbook (state.co.us) and always wear an age-appropriate, US Coast Guard approved, personal floatation device.