OMAHA, NE - The warmer temperatures are bringing more visitors to recreation areas across the Omaha District. Park Rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are reminding visitors to have life jackets for everyone and please wear them.
On average, 9 out of 10 people who drowned at a USACE lake or river project didn’t wear a life jacket. Life jackets save lives by keeping you afloat and providing time for rescue.
Wear it right, even if you don't plan to get wet.
Make sure life jackets fit and are worn properly. Children should not wear life jackets that are too big to keep their head above water and prevent them from slipping out of the jacket. Life jackets labels indicate the body weight they are designed to support but it sould still fit snugly.
Many drownings occur when someone who never intended to be in the water, unexpectedly falls from a boat or dock. The reaction can cause a person to reflexively gasp potentially inhaling up to a liter of water and drowning in less than a minute.
Reach, throw, don't go.
Swimming to retrieve a boat or object that has floated away, often begins unplanned and swimmers jump in to, "quickly rescue' the lost item. Swimming from a boat or swimming out to rescue another swimmer, should include a life jacket and throwing a life ring to a struggling swimmer may prevent two people from drowning.
Swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Even strong swimmers can get into trouble and be gone within seconds. It takes an average of 60 seconds for an adult to drown and just 20 seconds for a child to drown. Swimming ability also decreases with age.
Swim in designated areas and never alone.
Most importantly, learn how to swim and then, swim only at designated swim beaches. Many shorelines at USACE lake and river projects have drop offs and you can be in water over your head instantly or pulled under by the current. Designated swim areas have been inspected to provide a safer swimming environment. USACE beaches are designated as "swim at your own risk" so adults are reminded to watch children. Most drownings occur within 10 feet of safety.
USACE is the Nation’s largest federal provider of water-based outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 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.