#1 rule of Creekboating:
TAKE YOUR THROWBAG WITH YOU EVERY TIME YOU SCOUT.
I have no idea on the details of this tragedy and no idea what did or did not make a difference. But the number 1 rule is definitely not being followed in Colorado by all groups. It is fine to have a small life jacket throwbag, but every time you get out to scout you just have to have a habit of grabbing the big bag out of the back of your boat. I have definitely seen people driven to tears by a group when they did not follow this simple rule. Without it you are worthless. You don't have time to run back up if someone fires it up and you never know when someone will fall in or come floating through.
Then when you set up safety you only need 2 things
1) a good angle on the danger spot
2) a tie-in to a tree or rock or other firm footing.
That's only 3 things to remember and you will never let your group down. Pretty simple when your best bro's life is on the line.
Let's have a RESURGENCE OF SAFETY ON THE RIVER all around. Educate the younger guys in your group whenever possible. Practice live bait swimming. Give someone a hard time if they scout Gore without their bag.
Take a class, some of the best river safety teachers in the world live in Colorado:
Nick Wigston - http://downstreamedge.wordpress.com/
on the front range
Matt Wilson - Swiftwater Rescue Training | River Rescue Courses
in the southwest
Feel free to add more instructors b/c there are more great ones in CO. Let's fill some classes up this fall so everyone is set for next spring.