US Army Corps of Engineers
Huntington District Website

Labor Day Water Safety Tips

Published Aug. 27, 2013

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 2013 Labor Day Weekend is upon us and the Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would like to remind you of some water safety tips at the traditional close of the summer season.

Knowing some of the facts about drowning may help save your life or the life of someone you love. According to Corps statistics, the majority of people, 89 percent, who drown are male, 39 percent are 18-35 years old, 24 percent are 36-53 years old and 89 percent of the people who die in water-related accidents were not wearing a life jacket. More than 90 percent of the people who die in boating-related accidents had not taken a boating safety course.

TIP: Are You Next? Expect the Unexpected and Wear Your Life Jacket! You could be the next person to drown if you don’t play it safe. Your best defense against the unexpected is a life jacket. Wear your life jacket and encourage those you love to wear one too.

TIP: Learn to swim well and swim with a buddy. It only takes an average of 20 seconds for a child to drown and 60 seconds for an adult. Never let your children swim by themselves. Adult supervision is a must to ensure you don’t lose the ones you love. Swimming ability decreases with age, so even if you are a strong swimmer, wear your life jacket especially in open water conditions.

TIP: Many people who drown never intended to enter the water and they drown within 10-30 feet of safety. Sixty percent of the time people who drown were either witnessed by someone or there were people in the area that could have helped save them.

TIP: Learn to identify the four signs of a person who is drowning. The drowning signs are head back, mouth open, no sound and arms slapping the water in an up and down motion.

TIP: The proper ways to rescue someone in the water that is in distress are to reach, throw, row and don’t go. Reach something out to the person without endangering yourself, throw them something that floats, row your boat close to the person with the motor off. Never attempt an in-water rescue unless you are trained to do so. Instead, go for help or send someone else for help. Oftentimes a double-drowning occurs when someone enters the water to attempt a rescue because a person fighting for their life is extremely strong and in order to stay afloat they will hold the person who is trying to help them underwater.

TIP: Take a boater safety course and boat with a buddy. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 93 percent of the people that died in a boating accident were on vessels where the operator had not taken a NASBLA-approved boater safety course. There are online courses available at <>  . U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary <>  and U.S. Power Squadrons <>  offer courses in most states. As a bonus, many insurance companies offer reduced rates for taking a boating safety course.

Public Affairs

Release no. PA13-53