US Army Corps of Engineers
Huntington District Website Website

PA12-49 Corps Urges Safety on the Water

Published July 13, 2012

Corps Urges Safety on the Water-Are You Next?

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.... There have been several accidental drownings in the Tri-State area this summer,

and the U.S. Anny Corps ofEngineers, as the nation 's largest federal provider ofwater-based outdoor recreation, is urging eve1yone to take water safety seriously.

Ask yourself the question: Are You Next? You could be the next person to drown, because accidents happen

when you least expect it.

Each year about 3,500 drowning-related deaths occur in the United States. Drowning can occur because

people lmder-estimate the power of the water and over-estimate their swimming ability. But those deaths might have

been prevented by wearing a life jacket or taking other precautions.

A review of cmTent public fatality statistics clearly shows which gender, age group and recreational activities that

are most often involved in incidents. Trends analyzed since 1998 tell us our typical victim is male (88.4%), not wearing a

life jacket (89.3%), swimming in a non-designated areas (47.2%), who is between 18 and 35 years old (39%).

Huntington District Commander Col. Robe1i Peterson takes water safety ve1y seriously. "The Corps of Engineers welcomes visitors to enjoy our beautiful lakes and recreation areas, but we urge caution. Our rangers spend a great deal oftime talking to the public about the risks and offering advice on how to stay safe around water."

Here are some safety tips from the Corps ofEngineers:

Watch your children- Research shows it only takes a child an average of20 seconds to drown. Don't let children wander very far from adults and never let them go into the water alone.

Alcohol and water activities don't mix - Approximately one-third of all boating accidents and fatalities involve alcohol. Drinking just one beer can impair balance, vision, judgment and reaction time. Combine alcohol consumption with boating fatigue - exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare and wind - and the risk for boating accidents is significantly intensified.

- Approximately one-third of all boating accidents and fatalities involve alcohol. Drinking just one beer can impair balance, vision, judgment and reaction time. Combine alcohol consumption with boating fatigue - exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare and wind - and the risk for boating accidents is significantly intensified.

Boaters should know the rules--Take appropriate safety classes, be familiar with governing state laws and have proper safety equipment onboard. Wear a life jacket; don’t just carry one on board. Don't overload the boat. File a float plan with a friend.

--Take appropriate safety classes, be familiar with governing state laws and have proper safety equipment onboard. Wear a life jacket; don’t just carry one on board. Don't overload the boat. File a float plan with a friend.

Respect the power of water--Surprisingly, two-thirds of drowning victims never intended to be in the water. This is especially true in cases of people accidentally falling out of their boats while fishing. If someone is in trouble, reach or throw a floatation device – don’t go in the water. Don't over-estimate your swimming skills. Swim only in designated swimming areas. Half of all drowning victims are alone when they drown so use the buddy system. Take swimming lessons and learn to swim!

--Surprisingly, two-thirds of drowning victims never intended to be in the water. This is especially true in cases of people accidentally falling out of their boats while fishing. If someone is in trouble, reach or throw a floatation device – don’t go in the water. Don't over-estimate your swimming skills. Swim only in designated swimming areas. Half of all drowning victims are alone when they drown so use the buddy system. Take swimming lessons and learn to swim!

Never Dive or Jump into Lakes and Rivers – Cliff diving and jumping is not allowed at Huntington District lakes. Open water situations where water depth is unknown and conditions are constantly changing with floating or underwater debris can be very dangerous. You never know what might lie unseen below the surface of the water in a lake or river.

Cliff diving and jumping is not allowed at Huntington District lakes. Open water situations where water depth is unknown and conditions are constantly changing with floating or underwater debris can be very dangerous. You never know what might lie unseen below the surface of the water in a lake or river.

Learn to Swim Well and Practice Floating - Learning to swim well is one of your best defenses against drowning. Also, learn and practice simple survival floating skills; remembering how to relax and float when exhausted can save your life. If you are going to be swimming or wading outside our designated swimming areas we urge you to wear a life jacket.

Learning to swim well is one of your best defenses against drowning. Also, learn and practice simple survival floating skills; remembering how to relax and float when exhausted can save your life. If you are going to be swimming or wading outside our designated swimming areas we urge you to wear a life jacket.

Have Fun, But Be Smart - Make smart decisions when it comes to risky behavior – your life could depend on it!

- Make smart decisions when it comes to risky behavior – your life could depend on it!

An estimated 360 million people visit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide annually, and our District annually hosts around 30 million visitors at our recreation areas. We urge you to make water safety your top priority when using the nation's waterways and lakes.

For more safety tips and interactive games, visit our water safety website at:watersafety.usace.army.mil or contact the Public Affairs Office at 304-399-5353. Children can learn safety tips from Bobber the Water Safety Dog at this site: www.bobber.info/.


Release no. PA12-49