JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (June 12, 2012) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the nation’s leading provider of outdoor recreation, encourages everyone to be safe around water this summer.
"Summer is a wonderful time for families to head to America’s Great Outdoors for fun and relaxation," said Adam Tarplee, Natural Resource Program Manager. “We want visitors to be safe while they enjoy themselves at Corps-managed recreation areas and water bodies, such as Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway.”
Visitors to recreation areas should observe these safety practices:
• Learn to swim well and practice floating
• Wear a life jacket
• Watch your children
• Don’t depend on air-filled toys such as water wings that can deflate in seconds
• Use the buddy system and don’t swim or boat alone
• Inspect your equipment regularly
• Take a safe boating course
• Check weather conditions and prepare for sudden weather changes
• Don’t drink and swim or drink and boat
• Obey all signs and buoys
If you recreate around water, expect the unexpected and wear a life jacket. Even excellent swimmers should wear life jackets while boating. If you are over age 16 and know how to swim, inflatable life jackets are a good option. They are cool and comfortable and available in collar and belt pac styles. For information on how to choose the right life jacket, go to: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/Publications/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf.
Visitors can take advantage of a free life jacket loaner program at the Corps’ W.P. Franklin and St. Lucie recreation areas. Swimmers and boaters can borrow life jackets at loaner stations and return them at the end of the day.
USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of 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.