When it comes to boating on Colorado waters, ignoring COVID-19 social-distancing precautions just won’t float.

That’s the upshot of the message from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which in a news release called on residents to continue to follow health and social distance guidelines when boating.

State parks remain open even as Coloradans face certain stay-at-home restrictions ordered by Gov. Jared Polis. Boat ramps, marinas and shorelines are open at state parks, and CPW is seeing heavy visitation for this time of year on some state waters, at a time when the seasonal opening dates for boating at many local and federal waters have been postponed due to the pandemic.

The agency says its rangers also are seeing a rise in multiple, non-family members getting on boats in close proximity to each other. It is urging people to follow recommendations of the Sea Tow Foundation for Boating Safety and Education, which says people should only boat with those living with them, and not with friends or extended family.

“It is OK for people in the same household to be closer, but people should not be mixing households,” park Ranger Mike Haskins at Chatfield State Park on the Front Range said in a news release. “We are reminding our visitors that low-risk recreation is still allowed under the stay-at-home order so long as social distancing requirements are met, six foot spacing minimum.”

The social-distancing requirements also apply for the aquatic nuisance species boat inspections required at CPW waters to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels and other invasive species. Boaters should stay at least six feet from inspection station staff, not gather in groups larger than 10 and wait until the inspector calls them up to the station.

They should then stay in their vehicle, set the parking brake, turn their vehicle off and not leave the vehicle unless the inspector asks for help with the inspection. Those with green seal receipts, which contain information about a boat’s last inspection and can speed up the inspection process, should keep their window closed and show the seal to the inspector through the window.

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