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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read in the BLM literature for the Gunny Gorge that a spare PFD is a requirement and must be brought on the trip. I called the BLM after talking with friends that called BS on this and the BLM said that a spare PFD is a Colorado state law. I read documentation and spoke to a ranger at the Arkansas and they recommend a spare PFD but he did not believe it was a state requirement.

I know a spare paddle or oar is required, and that PFD's must be in the boat, but not required to be worn on this river section. Anyone want to weigh in here?

Thanks.
 

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Spare paddle is a must on a raft not kayak, but no law on spare PFD. But yes, you must have the PFD on your body, not in the boat in the Gunny Gorge. Please, Please do some more research on the Gunny Gorge before you even get on it. The hike down is a tough 1.5 miles, the paddle is mostly class III with 3 solid challenging class IV's. The last 3 miles out is mostly flatwater, and setting shuttle takes about 2.5 hrs. Now, I,m not trying to talk you out of this trip, it is absolutely gorgeous, but be prepared for some work. Give me a jingle at 970-497-6512 for more info.
 

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I've been down a few times and never have seen a ranger check for a spare PFD or paddle/oar. It is a pretty remote trip, amd worth going light fpr the hike in. Shuttle is long and worth doing some planning for. I think it is almost all class 3 read/run at lower levels.
 

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State and Federal Laws both apply in the Gunny Gorge. Spares are not required by Colorado State Law, strange that the Gunnison Gorge office quoted Colorado Law. Colorado only requires spare paddles for commercial river operations-check their site. The Gunnison BLM regulations don't mention the spare paddle or PFD.

I have paddled the Gorge between 300 and 8000 cfs, I would have to kindly disagree about Gunnerman's 3 solid-challenging IV's. At flows between 300 and 1000, its all class III, pool drop. Whitewater of the Southern Rockies calls it class IV- at 7,000 +. Its a great place.

Pack out your poop
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses, and thanks to Gunnerman for taking the time to talk. We will be running in a few weeks, and I would expect flows to be around 600 cfs depending on releases and rain. As advised, we will avoid the trip if heavy rains are in the forecast.

I love the Gorge but this is my first trip as captain of my own boat (trip leader). This is my annual trip that my brothers have done for 8 or 9 years, but first at the helm. Safety first, tight lines second and yes we will be packing out our poop.

As for the spare paddle, I saw it in the brochure I took last year and again saw it on the BLM's website - BLM Boating Gunnison Gorge

Paraphrase - "Rescue is very difficult in the Gorge. If in doubt, SCOUT!

The River Map provides locations and class of rapids. Each raft must carry an extra oar or paddle, first aid kit, repair kit, and extra PFD."

Not sure why this is in the regulations, or whether it only applies to commercial trips. As for the PFD's, the ranger I spoke to when I called today said that they aren't required to be worn, but it's recommended. We will have ours on because mine has my fishing gear and other necessities in it and it's seems like to smart thing to do.

Thanks again for the info.
 

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CDCfly. Not sure why this is such a big issue for you. Hopefully you have moved on to calling "BS" on some other topic. The BLM Gunnison Gorge River Office tries to stay in stride with Colorado State Boating Regulations. However occasionally there is a crossover between the commercial regs and private boater regs. The official answer is that on a private trip in the Gunnison Gorge you must have a type I, II, III, or V PFD per person on the trip. If you are a private boater you do not have to wear the PFD but it must be in the boat. We do reccomend that you bring a spare PFD in the event that you lose one during the trip. On the website it does state that you need to have a spare, so sorry for that. We will change it ASAP, although I don't see the need for the uproar. Guess people gotta take their shots at BLM where they can. Appologies
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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I'm wondering why the debate at all.

I mean, wouldn't you carry a spare jacket and spare paddle/oar as a matter of course?

If you don't have the proper equipment, why would you jump on the river in the first place?

Would you launch without a first aid kit just because the regs didn't require you to carry one?

And if you aren't required to wear a PFD, that means you'd drop yours in the bottom of the boat, you know, cause you can?

Cmon people; enough tragedies on the rivers this year already.

Be safe out there!
 

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If you're wearing your pfd and you're in such a bad situation it gets ripped off you, I'd guess you have much bigger problems than needing a spare one.

I don't see the point in requiring a spare.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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I guess the most troubling aspect of these regulations is the like most government crap, it simply makes no sense. Now why would you make commercial outfitters wear the PFD, and private boaters can put them in the bottom of the boat. A flip on any of the bottom class III-IV rapids would be major trouble for swimmers without a PFD. Just make everyone wear a PFD in the Gunny Gorge period. Come on folks lets get real.
 

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If you're wearing your pfd and you're in such a bad situation it gets ripped off you, I'd guess you have much bigger problems than needing a spare one.

I don't see the point in requiring a spare.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Mountain Buzz mobile app
When my husband's pfd shoulder strap decided to detach from the pfd itself on the SCOUT for Hells Half Mile on Lodore, we were pretty darn happy we'd been forced to carry a spare! Note to self, don't hook thumbs thru shoulder straps while hiking on your scout.
 

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Here is what is written in the state laws for PFD. Unless it is a specific river stipulation for that section.....spares are not required as a general rule.


#212 - PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDS)
1. No person may operate or give permission to operate a vessel less
than sixteen feet in length unless at least one Type I Life Preserver,
Type II Buoyant Vest or Type III Special Purpose Water Safety
Buoyant Device is on board for each person. For sailboards, an operator
may elect to wear a wet suit in lieu of carrying any type of personal
flotation device, so long as the wet suit meets the requirements of
paragraph 6, of this regulation. For vessels used in river running
activities, no person may operate or give permission to operate a
vessel for the purpose of river running unless at least one Type
I Life Preserver, Type II Buoyant Vest, Type III Special Purpose
Water Safety Buoyant Device, or Type V Whitewater River Running
Buoyant Vest is on board for each person.


2. No person may operate or give permission to operate a vessel
sixteen feet or more in length unless at least one Type I Life
Preserver, Type II Buoyant Vest or Type III Special Purpose
Water safety Buoyant Device is on board for each person, plus
at least one Type IV Buoyant Cushion or Ring Life Buoy, which
is immediately available as a throwable device. For vessels
used in river running activities, that portion of this regulation
requiring a Type IV throwable device does not apply. No person
may operate or give permission to operate a vessel for the purpose
of river running unless at least one Type I Life Preserver,
Type II Buoyant Vest, Type III Special Purpose Water Safety
Buoyant Device, or Type V Whitewater River Running Buoyant
Vest is on board for each person.

3. No person may operate or give permission to operate a vessel carrying
passengers for hire on any reservoir or lake unless at least one
Type I Life Preserver is on board for each person and they are
being worn when required. For vessels used during commercial
river running trips conducted by river outfitters, the personal
flotation device requirements are contained in Regulation #305.

4. The operator shall require each person who is surfing or being
towed on water skis, aquaplane, innertube or similar device, to
wear a properly fitting flotation device. A Type I Life Preserver,
Type II Buoyant Vest or Type III Special Purpose Water Safety
Buoyant Device is recommended, but a ski belt (preferably with
at least 2 straps and buckles), water sports jacket or foam wetsuit
jacket will be accepted if there is an extra personal flotation device
aboard for each person as required above.

5. No person may operate or give permission to operate a
recreational vessel unless each Type I, II, III, IV, or V (only for river
running) personal flotation device required is readily accessible and is
legibly marked with the U.S. Coast Guard approval number and is of
appropriate size for the person wearing it or for whom it is intended.

6. Sailboard operators may elect to wear, at their own risk, in lieu of
carrying a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device,
a wetsuit constructed of nylon covered neoprene or similar
material that covers the full torso of the wearer. The wetsuit shall
be capable of providing flotation to the wearer, when at rest on the
surface of the water.

7. All equipment shall be in good and serviceable condition.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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If you're wearing your pfd and you're in such a bad situation it gets ripped off you, I'd guess you have much bigger problems than needing a spare one.

I don't see the point in requiring a spare.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Mountain Buzz mobile app
Really.
Do you carry a spare tire? Whats the point? If a tire blows while you're on the highway, you have bigger problems than needing a spare tire. Right?

The point isn't to have a spare life jacket if yours gets ripped off of you. The point is to carry a spare in case yours blows away while you eat lunch, cause you know, you messed up and forgot to hook it to something, or cause it gets damaged somehow, or someone else looses or damages theirs. Or a bear eats one.

A spare life jacket isn't that expensive in the scheme of things, doesn't take up much room, and even if you need it once, you'll get in a most direct way why they're called life jackets.
 

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Really.
Do you carry a spare tire? Whats the point? If a tire blows while you're on the highway, you have bigger problems than needing a spare tire. Right?

The point isn't to have a spare life jacket if yours gets ripped off of you. The point is to carry a spare in case yours blows away while you eat lunch, cause you know, you messed up and forgot to hook it to something, or cause it gets damaged somehow, or someone else looses or damages theirs. Or a bear eats one.

A spare life jacket isn't that expensive in the scheme of things, doesn't take up much room, and even if you need it once, you'll get in a most direct way why they're called life jackets.
Alright... point taken.

Which is to say that maybe I SHOULD have a spare, but it doesn't seem like something that should be legislated.

And from the post before yours it sounds like it isn't, I guess.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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Okay. We agree. But since when do you need the legislature to tell you when..........or when not.............to do what logic tells you is the sensible thing to do?
 

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By the way, ran it in May at +500, it's boney but doable. A 14' raft will fit thru Cable at that level, but not with its oars out. Line is easy, just follow the blue hypalon streak down the wall on river left. Please report back on the stonefly hatch.
 

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Shutzie- I agree with what you are saying about preparedness and carrying appropriate safety equipment, but I am going to guess that you have never run the Gunny Gorge, or if so- hiked in your own equipment. The Gunnison Gorge doesn't have a road side put in. Carrying a spare PFD is totally reasonable 99% of the time, but this is a completely reasonable exception in my opinion. Also, it would make the trip very difficult for kayakers who are self supporting.

Gunnerman- Commercial Outfitters are held to a higher standard than private boaters as they have a legal duty to provide a safe experience to the customers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
CDCfly. Not sure why this is such a big issue for you. Hopefully you have moved on to calling "BS" on some other topic. The BLM Gunnison Gorge River Office tries to stay in stride with Colorado State Boating Regulations. However occasionally there is a crossover between the commercial regs and private boater regs. The official answer is that on a private trip in the Gunnison Gorge you must have a type I, II, III, or V PFD per person on the trip. If you are a private boater you do not have to wear the PFD but it must be in the boat. We do reccomend that you bring a spare PFD in the event that you lose one during the trip. On the website it does state that you need to have a spare, so sorry for that. We will change it ASAP, although I don't see the need for the uproar. Guess people gotta take their shots at BLM where they can. Appologies
Rmathis27 - I wasn't trying to cause an uproar. I was just trying to see if I really needed to carry an extra PFD. We intend to wear our PFD's and therefore will not be losing them. I appreciate the thoughtful / helpful comments and had no intention of calling BS. Just trying to gain some clarity to a cloudy interpretation. Thanks
 

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I've never had an issue where my spare was needed, thankfully, but I almost did a couple of weeks ago. I went down to the water the next morning to find my PFD on the beach in the waterline just about to peel out of the eddy. It had somehow been blown or knocked off the boat in the middle of the night. Gladly, I got it back, but if I hadn't, I still had 2 days of a 7 day trip to complete with no PFD.

I always have a spare PFD, oar, and multiple throw bags on the boat. They don't take up that much room.


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Old Guy in a PFD
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Shutzie- I agree with what you are saying about preparedness and carrying appropriate safety equipment, but I am going to guess that you have never run the Gunny Gorge, or if so- hiked in your own equipment. The Gunnison Gorge doesn't have a road side put in. Carrying a spare PFD is totally reasonable 99% of the time, but this is a completely reasonable exception in my opinion. Also, it would make the trip very difficult for kayakers who are self supporting.

Gunnerman- Commercial Outfitters are held to a higher standard than private boaters as they have a legal duty to provide a safe experience to the customers.
You have to do what is good for you. I'm just expressing an opinion and why I do it this way. Yes, I've had long hard treks to put ins and take outs, notably 6 mile on the North Platte. A spare pfd went along, we didn't even think about it. I'd have left the beer cooler (gasp) before I left the safety equipment.

I don't think I'd be comfortable launching on any river, even a class 1 day trip without a spare PFD, first aid and repair kit.

When I was on the dark side and owned a SeaRay there was always a jacket for each person on board and at least one spare. I also had a first aid and repair kit. I'm proud to say I passed Coast Guard inspections every year without a hitch. And we never needed the spare PFD or most of the other stuff we carried, but no matter. Better to have it and not need it.
 
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