Floating the Colorado River is a popular springtime and summer activity in Colorado and here are five rules you need to know when you float the river.

Floating the river is a ton of fun, but it does come with inherent risks and danger. It's best to go into it with some basic knowledge and safety awareness. I wish that I had been properly prepared the first time I went for a float. A lot of people use inner tubes, but their use is discouraged. A raft is a better and safer option.

If you are ready to have some fun on the Colorado, these five simple rules are a good start.

RULE #1 - KNOW WHEN TO GO

According to RiverRunners, the most exciting time to float is during the spring run-off from mid-May to mid-July, but it's also the most dangerous time because of the swiftness of the water. The best times for families and inexperienced floaters and rafters is July and August.

RULE #2 - WEAR A LIFEJACKET

Wearing a lifejacket is not the most comfortable way to float the river, but it is the safest. You always hope that you won't need it, but the fact is, you can't anticipate what is going to happen on the water. It is better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to you wear a life jacket and wear it properly or else it won't do you any good.

RULE #3 - EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

The water generally moves faster than what you think. Things pop up suddenly like rocks, holes, undercuts, trees in the river, and debris. Stay cautious and aware of your surroundings and be on the look out for man-made or natural hazards. Being surprised on your birthday is a good thing, being surprised on the water could be trouble.

RULE #4 - DON'T DRINK AND FLOAT

It's a deadly combination and you can get in trouble with the law. Colorado law says any person operating a vessel of any type on Colorado water can be arrested for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you've got to have it, save the booze for after the float. Don't be another statistic.

RULE #5 - DON'T FLOAT ALONE

If something SHOULD happen, having at least one other person along can increase your chances of survival. Besides that, floating with others is a lot more fun. Everyone in the party should know some basic first aid, and carrying some kind of first aid kit is a really good idea.

[CP & W]