Wearing your life jacket can save your life

Published May 20, 2013

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (May 20) – This year during National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24), and throughout the boating season, the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages safe and responsible boating, including the practice of always wearing a life jacket, and being alert and aware while on the water. Safe boating saves lives - for this year’s National Safe Boating Week and throughout the boating season remember to “Wear It!”

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers statistics 89 percent of the fatalities from water-related accidents were not wearing a life jacket. Many people who drown never intended to enter the water and they drown within 10-30 feet of safety.

If you find yourself in a rescue situation remember reach, throw, row, don’t go. Reach something out to the person without endangering yourself, throw them something that floats, row your boat close to the person with the motor off.  Never attempt an in-water rescue unless you are trained to do so.  Instead, go for help or send someone else for help. Oftentimes a double-drowning occurs when someone enters the water during a rescue attempt and the person fighting for their life tries to stay afloat by pushing the rescuer down under the water.

Before you go out on the water check the current river or lake levels and their conditions. Be aware of submerged objects that under normal water levels would be exposed. Also check the water temperature, even though the air temperature is warm the waters may not be. Even in the middle of summer you can still get hypothermia.

Your best defense against the unexpected is a life jacket. Wear your life jacket and encourage those you love to wear one too. 

The Corps’ Rock Island District manages recreation sites at its five reservoirs and along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. In fiscal year 2012, the District’s 1,959 campsites, 20 boat ramps, eight public beaches, and five Visitor Centers experienced more than 17 million visits.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based 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 they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on USACE recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

Release no. FY13-05-17