Corps of Engineers encourages water safety for Fourth of July weekend
FORT WORTH, Texas – Water safety must be a top priority for everyone using the nation’s waterways and lakes this summer, emphasizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth. An estimated 350 million people visit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide annually
Corps statistics show that most drownings occur during peak visitation. Fifty percent of all incidents occur between June and July when the projects are the busiest and water temperatures are warmest. The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest visitor weekends.
Below are safety tips from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help recreation seekers stay safe in the water over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and through the rest of the summer.
- Always wear a properly fitted, Coast Guard approved life jacket. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those who drowned, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is the most important precaution recreational boaters can take to increase their chances of surviving an accident on the water.
- Take a safe boating course. Visit www.cgaux.org for information on boating classes.
- Don’t overload the boat. Consider the boat size, the number of passengers, and extra equipment before loading the boat.
- Don’t drink and boat or drink and swim. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Just one beer can impair balance, vision, judgment, and reaction time. Research shows that four hours of boating produces fatigue that simulates drunkenness.
- Parents watch your children! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children ages 1-14. It is the third leading cause for 15-34 year olds.
- Don’t overestimate your swimming skills. Of all swimming-related fatalities at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites, 87 percent of those were in non-designated swimming areas. Don't take chances by over-estimating swimming skills, and swim only in designated areas.
- Additional swimming tips include: Never dive into lakes and rivers. Never rely on toys such as inner tubes and water wings to stay afloat. Reach or throw a flotation device to help someone in trouble. Never swim alone.
Remember, taking water safety precautions seriously saves lives. For additional information about Corps projects, visit http://www.corpslakes.us. Reservations for camping may be made at 1-877-444-6777, or on the internet at: www.recreation.gov. For more tips on water safety, visit the Corps' water safety web site: http://watersafety.usace.army.mil/.