Skip to main content

Steamboat Magazine

Yampa River Water Levels High & Temperatures Remain Low

05/22/2018 10:30AM ● By Alesha Damerville

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS- With spring runoff surging along, river levels are high (currently running above 2,200 cubic feet per second) and water temperatures remain low, creating potentially hazardous conditions without proper river safety, equipment and etiquette. 

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and Steamboat Springs Police urge residents and guests to exercise extra caution around fast-moving streams and rivers at all times, but especially during the spring runoff season. 

"It's easy to be complacent around the Yampa River because there is so much recreation on the river,” said Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Chuck Cerasoli. “However in the springtime, the high water and cold temperatures poses significant risks.” 

The Yampa River is one of Steamboat Springs’ popular recreation locations. Rafters, kayakers and SUPers, should always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and practice river safety. Recreational tubers should follow the same guidelines and wait until flows drop below 700cfs before venturing into the river. 

If you lose a water craft on the river, let public safety responders know you’re okay. Each year numerous calls of concern are received when an empty craft goes floating downriver. Call the non-emergency dispatch number 970.879.1144 with the location and description of your vessel. First of all, dispatch will be happy to know you’re okay; and, that there’s no cause for emergency services to respond. 

Steamboat Springs Police & Fire Rescue recommend the following tips to help ensure a fun and safe season on the Yampa River, lakes and reservoirs. 

• Never Boat/Kayak/Raft/SUP/Tube/Swim Alone 

• Wear A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) 

• Be Prepared For Extremes In Weather 

• Watch Out For Your Dog 

• Carry A First Aid Kit And Know How To Use It. 

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue is trained in swift water rescue and ready to respond; however, the best deterrent to requiring their assistance is individual responsibility, river awareness, safety knowledge and common-sense. Please be safe this season as we all enjoy the Yampa River and local waterways.