U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages boaters and swimmers to wear life jackets

Published May 26, 2016

Before people head out for a day on or near the water, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages all to have life jackets and to wear them.

On average, nine out of ten drowning victims at an Army Corps of Engineers lake or river project did not wear a life jacket. Life jackets save lives by keeping you afloat and providing time for rescue.

Most people who drown never intended to be in the water – they unexpectedly fell from a boat or dock into the water. When this happens, a person will reflexively gasp and can inhale up to one liter of water and drown in less than a minute.

Others get into trouble by swimming out to retrieve a boat that floated away, or swimming in association with a boat.  Swimming in natural waters is not the same as swimming in a pool. Even strong swimmers can get into trouble and be gone within seconds. It takes an adult 60 seconds to drown and a child 20 seconds to drown. Swimming ability also decreases with age.

In order to avoid these hazards, swim at a designated swim beach. These areas have been inspected to provide a safer swimming environment.  At all Army Corps of Engineers beaches, people swim at their own risk so adults please watch children, because most people drowned within 10 feet of safety.  Many shorelines at Army Corps of Engineers lake and river projects have drop offs and people can be in water over their head instantly or pulled under by the current. 

Expect the unexpected and wear the right fit and type of life jacket – 9 out of 10 people who drowned, didn’t. 

Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns

Scott Sunderland

Release no. 16-010