Vicksburg District

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Posted 5/20/2014

Release no. 14-043

Shirley J. Smith

Vicksburg, Miss…The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers always encourages safety for everyone and especially when engaged in water related activities. The Corps is stressing the Wear Your Life Jacket safety message for the Memorial Day weekend by encouraging that you wear life jackets when boating or swimming.

Life jackets save lives by keeping you afloat and providing time for rescue. Most people who drown never intended to be in the water; they unexpectedly fell from a boat or dock into the water. When this happens, a person will gasp, and can inhale up to one liter of water and drown in less than a minute.

Never swim out into a lake to retrieve a boat or other objects that have floated away, let them go. Swimming in natural waters is not the same as swimming in a pool. Strong experienced swimmers can get into trouble and drown within seconds. It usually takes an adult about 60 seconds to drown; children must be accompanied by adults, it takes a child only 20 seconds to drown and most drownings occur within 10 feet of safety.

At all Corps of Engineers beaches, you swim at your own risk so please always swim at a designated swim beach. These areas have been inspected to provide a safe swimming environment. Many shorelines at Corps lake and river projects have drop offs and you can be in water over your head instantly or pulled under by the current. Remember, swimming ability usually decreases with age.

Expect the unexpected, wear the right fit and type of life jacket, not wearing the correct size and type life jacket has caused approximately nine out of 10 drownings.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, the Corps of Engineers provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on Corps of Engineers recreation sites and activities, visit