Abandoned recreational equipment causing scares for law enforcement

Before you go in the water, grab your kayak or tube and put your name on it. And let authorities know if you lose a tube.

While everyone is eager to hit the water, you really should put your name on your kayak or tube before you do anything else.

Boulder County Sheriff's Office says doing that one simple thing might prevent an unnecessary rescue down the line - and save them lots of time.

Label all your recreational gear - put your name and maybe some contact information on it as well. Just by doing that, you can help avoid the trouble of a false alarm water rescue.

Like the one that happened Thursday in Nederland. But false alarms have already happened a few times this summer.

With their new initiative, the sheriff's office hopes to avoid them altogether.

At Boulder Creek, in the cold water, John Cooper is enjoying the warm weather. He's one of the few people Friday willing to hit the water.

"I'm just tubing, having a good time," he says. "I go five or six days a week. Ha!"

A seasoned recreationist like Cooper knows how dangerous tubing every day can be - especially if you lose your tube.

"Without it," he says, "you're in a lot of danger of getting hurt on the rocks and whatnot."

That's exactly why law enforcement if they see a stray tube, will treat it as an emergency. Commander Nick Goldberger with the sheriff's office says they take life seriously.

If you lose your equipment, officials would like you to do two simple things:

1. Label everything.
2. Give law enforcement a call.

"What we're asking them to do is simply give us a call and let us know," Goldberger says. "Because if not... we are sending personnel - which are lives, human beings - into a dangerous area to try and search for somebody if we don't know where they are."

Also, write down your name, phone number, email - something so that law enforcement can contact you and check that you're all right.

Cooper was caught by 9NEWS with unlabeled gear while at Boulder Creek.

"I was going to do that later on today," he says. "Just put my name and phone number."

Goldberger says these two simple steps could save his team and other rescue crews hours of an unnecessary search. It'll also make sure the team isn't tied up during a real emergency.

Another tip? Tell someone you know before you head out about your plan. That way there's a second person who knows where you are if authorities need to know.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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