US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District

Enjoy Your Holiday, Play It Safe and Return Home Alive

Published June 29, 2019

Drowning is the Nation’s second leading cause of accidental death, yet it is possible just by wearing a life jacket these drowning deaths can be reduced.  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 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 kill, 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 the case at all.  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 can accumulate anywhere in or around boats regardless of what type of boat you have.   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 on and inside your boat.  Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around your boat at all times.  Avoid areas around boats where exhaust fumes may be present.  Do not let those you love swim under or around the boarding platform because the silent killer could be waiting for them and they will not even know it before it is too late.

While having a blast this holiday, remember these tips to help ensure you return home to those you love. If you need a place to recreate during the holiday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the Nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states.  For more information, contact the Corps office at Lake Red Rock at (641) 828-7522 or via email at



Release no. 19-032