Larimer County Sheriff's Office issues water safety advisory

Over the last few weeks the Poudre River and Big Thompson River have seen increased flow and water depth due to recent heavy rains and snowmelt runoff. These conditions increase hazards for those wishing to be on the water. On June 4, a 26-year-old female rafter died from a rafting accident on the Poudre. As was emphasized with yesterday’s tragic events, situations can change quickly on the water and activities need to be done with caution, both on the water and near it.

While the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office is not imposing partial use restrictions at this time, as they would not have prevented the recent accidents, we strongly discourage river recreation in unsafe conditions and/or with inadequate safety equipment. Your life safety is the first priority!

The partial use restriction already issued by Fort Collins Police Services is still valid, and this restriction prohibits the operation of single-chamber air-inflated devices on the Cache la Poudre River within the City limits of Fort Collins. This partial restriction began May 29, at 5 p.m. and is still in effect until further notice.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Larimer County Dive Rescue Team, Larimer County Search and Rescue Team and Larimer County Emergency Services want to advise and strongly warn any persons engaging in activities along the rivers to use extreme caution. Make sure you have all necessary safety equipment and follow all safety protocols.

Please remember that due to current water conditions, swift-water and whitewater activities are inherently dangerous. If you wish to experience the river in a recreational watercraft or explore swift-water/whitewater activities, we suggest going through one of the many local commercial rafting companies as they have qualified instructors, safety equipment, trained staff and emergency protocols already in place. These extra measures decrease, but do not eliminate all the risks.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and emergency services will continue to monitor conditions on an ongoing basis. For water safety tips and suggestions, please visit our website at

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