We're looking to hit 104 degrees next Monday (July 17, 2023) in Western Colorado. Temperatures like that tend to motivate Coloradans to hit the water. Do you have your life jacket?

If you're planning to spend time on the Colorado River this year, make sure to bring your life jacket. You say you don't have one? That's okay. Even if you don't own a lifejacket, or have access to one, there's still no reason to be on the water without one. Here's why.

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Safety on Colorado Rivers

According to CPR News, by mid-June of 2022, the state of Colorado had already recorded 16 drowning deaths for the year. Two of the tragedies occurred on June 15. Looking back to the year 2020, Colorado suffered 34 drowning deaths.

Life Jackets All Along the Colorado River in the Grand Valley

If you visit the Colorado River at various launches in Palisade, Clifton, Grand Junction, and Fruita, you'll find life jackets located nearby. The Grand Valley is home to the Save-A-Life Life Jacket Program.

How Does It Work?

Very simple. You'll find a number of kiosks along the Colorado River. These can be found at:

  • Palisade Rim Launch
  • Riverbend Launch
  • Corn Lake Launch
  • Las Colonias Launch (2 locations)
  • Connected lakes Launch
  • Blue Heron/Redlands Parkway
  • Fruita Launch
Life Jacket Program Map - Colorado River

From these kiosks, you can borrow, use, and return a life jacket. Really, it's just that simple.

Save-a-Life Life Jacket Program Riverbend Park Palisade Colorado (1)
Waylon Jordan

Are There Enough Life Jackets To Go Around?

Well, that's a great question. In order to best answer it, I conducted a poor man's experiment at Harry's Launch at Palisade, Colorado's Riverbend Park.

Every time I visit this park, I stop to take a photo of the kiosk. Take a look at the photos below and see for yourself.

Save-a-Life Life Jacket Program Riverbend Park Palisade Colorado (5)
Waylon Jordan

Let's take a look and get the best count we can. To my eyes, I see 14 life jackets, all ready and available to anyone who might need one. How about the next week's visit?

attachment-Save-a-Life Life Jacket Program Riverbend Park Palisade Colorado (3)

The count looks to come in at 12. In addition, it looks as though the kiosk contains jackets appropriate for larger adults all the way to smaller children.

attachment-Save-a-Life Life Jacket Program Riverbend Park Palisade Colorado (2)

A week later and.... a total of at least 13 life jackets for people of all ages and sizes.

Much Nicer Than What We Used To Have

Living in Grand Junction back in the 1970s, we typically spent quite a bit of time on the water. Back then, though, we had these crusty orange life vests made out of a material closely resembling sandpaper. Everybody owned a set. Those pieces of junk would literally take your hide off. In addition, each one came equipped with a wicked case of the killer stinkies. One had to conduct some serious soul-searching when deciding whether it was in their best interest to wear one.

Fast forward to 2023, and there's no discussion on the matter. These life jackets are of excellent quality, available, and free for you to borrow and use. All that's asked is you return it at one of the many kiosks along the river. It's the best deal in town. Take advantage of it.

Enjoy the Beautiful Colorado River at Palisade's Riverbend Park

Walk the banks of the Colorado River at Palisade's Riverbend Park. You'll find incredible views of the river and the Grand Mesa, but you'll also have a chance to take the perfect Mount Garfield selfie on this trail.

NEXT: Ten Affordable Places to Go Camping Along the Colorado River

We're out to create an ever-growing list of great places to go camping along the Colorado River. Use our station app to submit your favorite place to go camping (along the river) and we'll add it to our photo gallery.

KEEP SCROLLING: Hike to the Colorado River in Loma's Beautiful McDonald Creek Canyon

Looking for a great hike to the Colorado River? Consider finding your way through the Kokopelli Trail System to McDonald Creek Canyon in Loma, Colorado. This 4-mile roundtrip is one of my favorite canyons to explore because the view of the river at the end of the trail is fantastic. Just don't linger on the train tracks when you find the river.