Safety should be a priority this summer as you swim, play, or recreate outside - especially around bodies of water! Make sure that you wear the appropriate thing for the body of water you are going into, have the necessary swimming skills, and remain alert and aware when in/around water. Look out for new signage on the Boulder Creek to help improve your summer safety!

With warm summer weather around the corner, are we all thinking the same thing – swimming, floating or tubing? Safety should be your top priority when engaging in water recreation, including at any of the city’s natural bodies of water. Here are ways to protect yourself and your family in the water this summer and always remember to call 911 if there is an emergency.

Before you go

Before you head to Boulder Creek, Boulder Reservoir, or one of our outdoor pools, be prepared to dress appropriately. If you need a life vest, wear it proudly – it could save your life. Keep in mind that swimming in the creek, the Reservoir, and a pool are very different experiences and require different skills. Swift moving water can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Make sure to be alert and aware (especially if accompanying children) and avoid alcohol and drugs before and during water activities. Feel like you are ready to go swimming? Then let’s dive into the next section.

While you swim

Do not drink the water, especially when recreating in Boulder Creek or Boulder Reservoir (though we also do not recommend drinking pool water). The creek is a natural body of water and while it may feel refreshing, it is not a refreshing beverage. When recreating in natural bodies of water you should always be cautious.

  • Don’t get water in your mouth, eyes or open wounds.
  • Stay out of the water if you are sick or have a weakened immune system.
  • Wash your hands and shower after being in the creek.
  • Don’t swim within 48 hours of a rainstorm or if the water looks cloudy or discolored.

The City of Boulder also reminds community members to be cautious around city lakes and ponds where algae blooms may be present. At elevated levels, some algae may produce toxins that are harmful to people and pets. Learn more about algae blooms, which tend to appear in slow-moving water bodies, such as lakes and ponds.

Be aware that small children and older adults may have a higher risk of contracting a serious illness from waterborne pathogens. Learn more about the city’s water quality monitoring program.

New signage at Boulder Creek

If you chose to play in the creek, you will notice new signage while you are there. For the 2024 season, the city is installing signage to educate creek visitors about the risks of the creek.

The sign plan includes creating three types of signs:

  • Informational - explain the dangers of the creek, how to recreate more safely, and where to get more information about current creek conditions.
  • Takeout identification - indicate where there are takeout locations and warn of dangerous locations.
  • Locational – similar to highway mile markers, these will facilitate faster emergency response in the creek.

Through the signs, the city encourages visitors to wear a helmet, life jacket, closed-toe shoes and a wetsuit when entering the creek. Also, keep your pets on a leash and be careful when standing on creek banks so you don’t slip in.

Looking to be a stronger swimmer?

Recognizing swim ability is one of the most important factors in water safety. This summer Parks and Recreation (BPR) staff have been hosting free drowning prevention classes taught in both English and Spanish. BPR will hold another drowning prevention class on Wednesday, May 29 at 5 p.m. at Spruce Pool and the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Thursday, June 20 at 9 a.m. also at Spruce Pool. BPR will hold 176 swim lessons so, sign up for a class, if you need.

The city encourages all community members to celebrate the great weather by recreating responsibly. Prepare for your swim before you go, be aware while you are there, call 911 in case of an emergency, and have fun!