As warmer weather approaches, DNR warns Utah boaters about cold water

Posted at 9:42 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 23:42:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new video from the Utah Department of Natural Resources shows you what Utah has to offer, but their hope is that it also gives you a glimpse into the dangers of venturing out onto the water.

Already this year Utah has had two boating fatalities, a startling number as we're just now reaching the beginning of boating season.

This weekend we're going to have some of the warmest weather we've seen since October. After months of snow and rain, rangers get it: people want to get out. But first they have a message.

Just seeing the PSA gets outdoor enthusiasts' blood pumping, ready to hit the lake after a long winter

“People are cooped up and they want to get out, especially in the northern portion of the state,” said Ty Hunter, Boating Program Manager for the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation.

But in northern Utah, the water temps are still dangerously cold. DNR is releasing a PSA to warn people not to let the blue skies and warm water fool you.

“Remember those hidden dangers; and those hidden dangers is that water,” Hunter said.

Most reservoirs in northern part of the state are still dipping into the 40s, and if you fall in it could be deadly.

“We need to be safe, we need to wear our life jackets, we need to be thinking—even though its sunshiny and flat and calm water—things can happen in those conditions,” Hunter said.

Despite our short boating season, Utah ranks in the top five for boating fatalities. Already this year, DNR has responded to two. One occurred last month at Yuba Lake, the other in January at Flaming Gorge.

“We don't want you to be one of our memories in that piece, we want you to have fun, and at the end of the day we want you to go home,” Hunter said.

The Utah DNR says 80 percent of boating fatalities involved someone who was not wearing a life vest.