ST. PAUL, Minn. – Before you head out for a day on or near the water, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, encourages you to make sure you have life jackets for everyone and that you wear them.
In the last 10 years, 88 percent of all public water-related fatalities at Corps of Engineers facilities were men and 68 percent were between the ages of 20 and 60, according to the Corps’ National Operations Center for Water Safety. The center reports that 84 percent of all public water-related fatalities involved people not wearing life jackets and the greatest number of water-related fatalities involved people swimming in areas not designated for swimming. In addition, 27 percent of boating fatalities involved people falling overboard.
Several people who drown never intended to be in the water. They unexpectedly fell from a boat or dock. When this happens, a person will reflexively gasp and can potentially inhale up to one liter of water and drown in less than a minute. Others get into trouble swimming out to retrieve a boat that floated away, or swimming in association with a boat. Swimming in natural waters is not the same as swimming in a pool. Even strong swimmers can get into trouble and be gone within seconds. It takes an average of 60 seconds for an adult to drown and 20 seconds for a child to drown. Swimming ability also decreases with age.
Here are some safety tips:
• Take a safe boating course;
• Ensure all required safety equipment is onboard and serviceable;
• Wear your life jacket – don’t just carry one on board; and
• Check the weather forecast and file a float plan with a friend of family member.
• Never rely on toys such as inner tubes and water wings to stay afloat;
• Don’t overestimate your swimming skills; and
• Swim only in designated swimming areas and never swim alone.
Always wear the right size and type of life jacket for the activity you are enjoying. Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns. Learn more at PleaseWearIt.com.
The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
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