- Paddlers need to supply their own water craft.
- You may use any non-motorized water craft: canoe, kayak, paddle board (SUP), row boat. There are some limitations on SUP and rowboat use. Ask us.
- Paddlers must be familiar with the water craft they are using.
- Paddlers must have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each boat occupant plus a PFD for the swimmer. This means if you have 2 paddlers, you need 3 PFDs. Boat occupants should (must) wear their PFDs.
- Paddlers must be physically able to paddle for up to 5 hours without stopping.
Safety Information and Rules for All Paddlers, All Races
Do not bring a swimmer into your boat. This may (and has) capsized the paddler boat, which then adds 1 or more people who need to be rescued.
Should a swimmer need assistance, throw the swimmer a PFD and signal a rescue craft.
If you are confident about the stability of your boat, you may have the swimmer hold onto the boat. The best locations for this are the bow or stern of the boat. This is not recommended.
Should a swimmer need assistance, signal for help by blowing your whistle – 3 short blasts indicates emergency – and raising your paddle into the air and waving it back and forth. The Larimer County Dive Rescue team will be watching and listening for these signals and will come to help. If you see a paddler signaling for help, please pass this signal to the nearest Dive Rescue boat. They may not be able to see/hear the signaling!
Similarly, paddlers should not wave their paddle in the air to signal to a friend on shore. A waved paddle will bring Dive Rescue rushing to your rescue unnecessarily.
You are not a referee for the swim. However, try to encourage swimmers to not break the rules.
Be alert for signs/symptoms of a swimmer having troubles. This might be due to exhaustion or hypothermia or another cause. With later stages of exhaustion or hypothermia the swimmer’s judgement is often impaired and they will rely on you to make decisions. Here is an interesting article on the signs of drowning.
Always be aware of where other paddlers and swimmers are with respect to you. Please avoid paddler/paddler or paddler/swimmer collisions.
Information for 10k Race Paddlers
There will be a pre-race (morning) meeting for all paddlers at 6:30 am to go over last minute details and update all on the course and course safety.
Paddlers should ideally place themselves between the swimmer and any boat traffic. At inlets to coves and especially at the inlet to Marina Bay (where there is a lot of boat traffic) stay close to your swimmer. You are there to provide visibility to other boats; you are much easier to see than the swimmer.
Be familiar with the course, you will be more aware of where you are relative to the finish line than the swimmer. Your goal is to guide the swimmer on the straightest line possible.
Keep your swimmer within 100 feet of the shore. This is for everyone’s safety as normal boat traffic will be present during the race.
Make a plan with your swimmer for how to communicate – if the swimmer is veering off-course, how will you signal or guide the swimmer back on course?
Make a plan with your swimmer for how to provide nutrition/hydration: how often does the swimmer want to stop and feed? How will you signal the swimmer it’s time to stop? How will you hand off and retrieve food and water/drink? The swimmer may not touch your boat!
Be aware of what coves you are passing and only enter the coves designated as part of the race course.
To ensure a full 10k distance, swimmers will enter the first cove after the start (Soldier Canyon Cove) and exit at the second cove (Etuck Bay). Paddlers will not follow the swimmers into the cove. Paddlers will travel down the shoreline and meet up with the swimmer as they exit the second cove.
10k Roving Safety Paddlers: Your job is to help with communication up and down the line of swimmers, to fill in for a paddler if they are unable to be with their swimmer (capsize, have to get out, etc), to signal for Dive Rescue in case of an emergency, and in general provide overall safety for the entire race course. You’ll be doing lots of paddling!
Information for 2.4/1.2 Mile and Youth Races Paddlers
You may be assigned to a specific location on the course or as a roving safety patrol along the course.
Your job is to ensure swimmers stay on course, to watch for swimmers in distress and to signal for Dive Rescue in case of emergency.
There will be a pre-race (morning) meeting for all paddlers at 6:30 am to go over last minute details, to update everyone on the course and to assign positions.
Things to consider bringing in your boat:
- Sweatshirt/sweat pants/fleece (or other warm clothing)
- Food/water for yourself (in addition to the swimmer’s)
- If the weather is cold or wet, bring hot fluids to drink
- Whistle (provided by the race committee)
- Map (provided by the race committee)
- Cell phone (some service is available on the water)
Have fun! Horsetooth is a nice place to paddle – to enjoy the scenery as well as watching all those crazy swimmers!
Canoe/Kayak Rental Shops
The following shops in Fort Collins rent canoes and/or kayaks:
Rocky Mountain Adventures
1117 N. US Highway 287
Fort Collins, CO
Jax Outdoor Gear
1200 N College Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mountain Whitewater Descents
1329 N Highway 287
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Inlet Bay Marina at Horsetooth Reservoir
4314 South Shoreline Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80526
970. 223.0140 Reservations must be made by phone.