Water Safety: Enjoy Your 4th of July Holiday and add water safety to your plans

Published July 2, 2014



         (Louisville, Ky) - While having fun this 4th of July holiday remember these water safety tips to help ensure you return home safely to those you love. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death, yet the number of deaths by drowning could be reduced drastically if everyone would wear a life jacket. Statistics show that 89 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.Swimming in open water is different and more difficult than in a swimming pool.  You can tire more quickly and get into trouble due to waves, current, lack of experience, exhaustion or your abilities have decreased.  You could find yourself in a situation where you are fighting for your life with no chance of survival.  Even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills and abilities while swimming in a lake or river.  Conditions can change quickly in open water, so before entering the water, please wear a life jacket.  While wearing a life jacket you will not use as much energy and it will help you float. Peer pressure can sometimes inadvertently cause illness or death in the water, so friends should make friends swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket.

        While on or near the water watch your children at all times.  It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown.  Usually people believe that if someone is drowning they will yell for help and that is not the case. Several people drown every year within 10 feet of safety because the people around them did not recognize the signs of drowning. To help someone who appears to be drowning, keep a reasonable distance and throw them something that floats to pull them to safety.
        Boaters or those swimming near boats should be aware that carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible, and silent killer.  Carbon monoxide can accumulate anywhere in or around your boat regardless of what type of boat you have.   It is heavier than air and lighter than water, so it floats on the water’s surface.  Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness.  Knowing these signs what to do to prevent them can help you 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 of your boat where exhaust fumes may be present.  Do not swim under or around the boarding platform.

     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.  To find a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project near you visit www.CorpsLakes.us.