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Friday Is ‘Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day’ as USACE Stresses Summer Safety Measures

Wear a life jacket! U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers might give you a free towel. Image at Proctor Lake courtesy of USACE.

If you’re out on Canyon Lake and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) park ranger catches you wearing your life jacket (like you’re supposed to) you might get a free beach towel.

USACE is doing everything it can — including participating in Friday’s Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day — to promote the importance of wearing a life jacket when out on the water.

“You might stand out a little, but you will help show others that if it is easy enough to wear a life jacket while working, then it should be even easier to wear when on, in, or near the water,” the Corps said in a statement.

If the thought of free towels and an engaging social-media campaign inviting you to share images to social media using #lifejacket2work and #safeboating to promote #watersafety don’t grab your attention, consider these sobering statistics:

  • Eighty-nine percent of people who died in water-related accidents on USACE properties were not wearing life jackets.
  • It only takes seconds to drown. It takes an average of 60 seconds for an adult to drown and just 20 seconds for a child to drown.
  • It takes an average of 10 minutes to put on a life jacket after entering the water — and that is if you are a strong swimmer.

In a statement on May 3, USACE asked the public for its help in reducing the number of fatalities at the more than 2,800 USACE-managed recreation areas nationwide.

Most public recreation fatalities occur in the summer months.

USACE urges recreationalists stay focused on safety and:

  • Expect the unexpected – If you are ejected from a boat, fall or jump into water that is colder than 70 degrees, you can inhale water from involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, panic and sometimes vertigo that can cause you to drown. You can be knocked unconscious if ejected from a boat or fall into the water along the shoreline while fishing.
  • Wear life jackets – They can keep you alive until help arrives. Swimmers can easily become exhausted due to fatigue, waves or current. As the saying goes, ‘life jackets worn, nobody mourns.’
  • Understand the difference between swimming in a lake and a pool – Swimming in natural water like lakes, rivers and ponds is not the same as swimming in a pool. Also, swimming ability decreases with age. It is never too late to take lessons.
  • Let it float away – Several people drown every year while swimming to retrieve boats and toys. Let those go! They’re not worth losing your life over.
  • Stay away from alcohol – Alcohol and water are a deadly combination. Alcohol induces an inner-ear condition (caloric labyrinthitis) that can cause swimmers to become disoriented when underwater. You can’t tell which way is up. If you jump or fall in the water, you can become disoriented and swim down instead of up to safety.
  • Watch out for “boater’s hypnosis” – This condition is brought on by the effects of sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion experienced during a day of boating. It can slow reaction times almost as much as if you were legally intoxicated. Adding alcohol to this condition intensifies effects.

About the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

USACE is one of the nation’s leading federal providers of outdoor and water-based recreation, hosting millions of visits annually to its more than 400 lake and river projects. It’s estimated that 90-percent of the USACE-operated recreation areas are within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, offering diverse outdoor activities for all ages close to home. For more information on USACE recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

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