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Posted 8/29/2014

Release no. 14-051

John Campbell


It’s almost time to say goodbye to summer. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges you to be safe if you’ll be spending the weekend on or around the water over the Labor Day weekend.

“Summer is ending, but you don’t have to let the fun end this Labor Day weekend,” said George Melanson, Natural Resource Manager with the Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. “Please wear a life jacket to help ensure you return home alive and encourage your friends and family to wear one too.”

Melanson and Corps rangers across the nation are sharing the following safety tips:
• Before heading out for the lake or river, be sure you have a life jacket on hand for everyone. Check that the life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved, are the right size, the right fit, and are appropriate for the activity you have planned. Then please make sure everyone wears it. On average, 9 out of 10 people who drowned at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake or river project didn’t wear a life jacket. Life jackets save lives by keeping you afloat and providing time for rescue.
• If you plan to swim at a lake, please do so at a designated swim beach that is marked with a buoy line. Adults, plan to take turns being a “water watcher” and keep an eye on children when they are swimming. A child can drown in 20 seconds so stay within arm’s reach while supervising them.
• Know your swimming ability. Each year, swimmers get into trouble swimming after a toy, a boat or some other object that drifts away. It’s not worth dying for to swim after the object. Let it go or put on a properly fitted life jacket and then retrieve the item.

“Life jacket loaner programs are in place for boaters and swimmers at the W.P Franklin Recreation Area near Fort Myers and at the St. Lucie Recreation Area near Stuart,” said Melanson. “We’ve had great success with this program and feel it provides a tremendous service to our visitors.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor 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.

More information on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation sites and activities is available at the following website:



boating camping lakes recreation water safety