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Posted 7/2/2012

Release no. FY12-07-26


ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death, wearing a life jacket can reduce drowning deaths. Statistics show that 90 percent of those who drown at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes and rivers may have survived if they had worn a life jacket. Here are some safety tips from the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help you have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday.       

Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool. You can tire more quickly and get into trouble. Even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating and swimming.  Conditions can change quickly in open water, so before entering the water wear a life jacket. While wearing a life jacket you will not use as much energy, it will help you float and most importantly it will help ensure that you return home alive to those who love you. Peer pressure can cause fatalities, so friends make friends swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket.

While on or near the water watch your children. It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown and before you know it your child could be gone. A lot of people believe that if someone is drowning they will yell for help and that is not always the case. Several people drown each year within 10 feet of safety because the people around them did not recognize that they were drowning. The four signs of a drowning victim include head back, gasping for air, no yelling or sound and arms slapping the water looking like they are trying to climb out of the water. Seconds count and it could make the difference between life and death, so watch those you love.
 
Boaters should be aware of a silent and invisible killer while boating - carbon monoxide. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. Know the signs and stay alive. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors and avoid areas around boats where exhaust fumes may be present like near the boarding platform.

While having a blast this holiday remember these tips and wear a life jacket to help ensure you return home to those you love.

The Corps’ Rock Island District manages recreation sites at its five reservoirs and along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. In fiscal year 2011, the District’s 1,959 campsites, 20 boat ramps, eight public beaches, and five Visitor Centers experienced nearly 15 million visits.

If you need a place to recreate during the holiday the Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states. To find a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project near you visit www.CorpsLakes.us.