Get the 411 on Dillon and Frisco Bay marinas for Memorial Day on Lake Dillon
Safety on the Res
Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of sailing season in the U.S. The U.S. Coast Guard recently released figures from its 2015 recreational boating statistic report, showing the leading causes of death and property damage. Before taking to the water at Dillon Reservoir or Green Mountain Reservoir, take these highlights to heart and prepare with the right equipment, knowledge and courtesy.
The fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels showed a 1.9 percent increase from the previous year’s rate.
Twenty-two children under age 13 died while boating in 2015: 12 children (55 percent) died from drowning and two of those children (17 percent) were wearing a life jacket. Half of the remaining 10 children who were not wearing a life jacket were not required to do so under state law.
Property damage totaled approximately $42 million.
Alcohol was the leading known contributing factor for fatal boating accidents and was listed as the leading factor for 17 percent of deaths.
Other contributing factors included operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed.
It’s sailing season in the High Country.
Like clockwork, Memorial Day Weekend brings the return of sailing, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding to waterways across Summit County, from Green Mountain Reservoir north of Silverthorne to big, bad Dillon Reservoir in the heart of the county.
On Friday, Frisco Bay Marina and Dillon Marina opened in full for the season. Frisco is home to canoe, kayak and powerboat rentals all summer from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, while Dillon is the launch ramp for sailboats and other large craft. Services there are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Of course, it wouldn’t be sailing season without a patio and summery something to sip on. The Tiki Bar at Dillon Marina is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to dusk. Over in Frisco, the Island Grill is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., weather permitting, with happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Don’t dip into Dillon
Dillon Reservoir is more than a high alpine lake. It also serves as the water basin for all of the Front Range, which means Denver Water oversees all fishing and boating on the res. This is no small-town pond — it’s tightly regulated and all users need to know what they can and can’t do.
The big one: no swimming at Dillon Reservoir. This includes scuba diving, water skiing and personal watercraft like jet skis. Windsurfing is allowed with a full wet or dry suit. The swimming restriction also extends to dogs, so don’t let Fido take a swim, even from the shore.
If you’re on a powerboat, the speed limit is 30 miles per hour and all boaters younger than 13 years old must wear a PFD at all times. All hulled craft must be launched from a boat ramp at either marina and drivers need to first register personal craft with the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation Registration Unit.
Waterski at Green Mountain
Swimming and water skiing might be restricted on Dillon Reservoir, but don’t fret: Green Mountain Reservoir is open to both. The Heeney Marina boat ramp is currently open for motorized craft that pass a free inspection for zebra and quagga mussels. The Heeney Marina is open to craft up to 30-feet. All larger craft need to launch from McDonald Flats, which will likely open in early June.
For more info, call the marina directly at (970) 724-9441.
Catch pike, make cash
Fishing is permitted on both Dillon Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir, but, again, as tightly regulated waters all fisherman need to know the regulations before heading out. A fishing license isn’t quite enough. For specifics, see the full CPW fishing manual at cpw.co.state.us.
At Green Mountain, the local CPW officials have established a bounty for an invasive pike species introduced illegally in 2012 by an unlicensed visitor. The pike pose a threat to native species on feeder waterways, including the Blue River and Colorado River. When you catch a pike, bring it to the Heenery Marina for a $20 reward per fish.
At Dillon Reservoir, fishing is allowed from boats or the shore. No one is allowed to fish from Dam Road or anywhere near the dam structure. Fishing from docks and boat ramps is also restricted.
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