The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District will be enforcing a U.S. Coast Guard issued regulation 33CFR 175 at its Indiana reservoirs requiring children under the age of 13 to wear an appropriate life jacket when on a moving vessel or outside of an enclosed cabin.
Indiana is one of 10 states where mandatory Personal Flotation Device wear laws do not exist. The USCG regulation states all children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while recreation vessels are underway.
“Once they anchor they do not have to wear one anymore,” said Tyler Blankenship, a park ranger at Monroe Lake in Bloomington, Indiana, “although we advise the life jackets remain on. If the boat is underway, even by a trolling motor, the requirement is in effect. We are doing this to protect the children.”
Blankenship, who serves as the chair of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Safety Team for the Louisville District, takes water safety seriously.
“It’s a life and death situation— especially for children—and we have lost too many children across the nation’s lakes. It takes seconds for a child to drown and requiring children under 13 to wear life jackets will help save lives.”
In Indiana, the Corps will enforce the requirements at USACE reservoirs including the Middle Wabash Area lakes at Monroe, Bloomington; Cagles Mill, Poland; Patoka, Dubois; and Cecil M. Harden Lake, Rockville.
“Our focus is to educate lake visitors to the regulation requirements. As the recreational season goes into full swing, we want visitors to be safe and wear life jackets,” Blankenship said. “We expect most families will follow the new guidance and we will be understanding as we transition into this season. We can issue warnings and for repeat offenders, citations.”