Unattended kayaks send rescuers scrambling for boaters who weren’t lost 

Back-to-back reports of unattended kayaks on Lake Dillon this week led to immediate rescue efforts, only for rescuers to find the boaters were safe and sound nearby. 

On Monday evening a kayak was left on the rocky shores near the Roberts Tunnel, across the lake from Dillon Marina. A concerned passerby phoned it in. Rescuers found life jackets and paddles inside the kayak and fanned out to scour the area. They soon found the kayakers walking on a nearby trail. 

On Tuesday morning a fishing kayak was spotted with no one inside it near the Snake River inlet. Again, rescuers flew into action, literally: Summit County Sheriff’s deputies surveyed the area with a drone. But again, the boater returned soon after. 

Lesson of the week, according to the sheriff’s office: Write you name, address and phone number on personal watercraft like kayaks, duckies, stand-up paddleboards, and rafts. None of the unattended craft this week had contact info. 

Rescue teams are on high alert right now. State officials report at least 20 confirmed open water fatalities this year. The majority have been on flat water.