BROOKLYN, NY -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) North Atlantic Division is continuing to concentrate on water safety outreach at lake and river projects after a deadly start to the recreation season at USACE parks nationwide.

As of May 31, 57 people have died on Corps-owned property this year, compared to 39 at this time last year -- a more than 32 percent increase. Most of these fatalities were from drowning. USACE officials report that more than 90 percent of drowning victims at USACE parks were not wearing a life jacket.

“Public safety is our number one priority,” said Maj. Gen. Merdith W.B. Temple, acting commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The increase in deaths at USACE parks this year is of great concern to us. We want to do everything we can to make people aware of potential risks when they visit one of our recreation areas, and how to make good decisions that will improve safety for themselves, families and friends.”

USACE officials encourage visitors to check local water and weather conditions and pay attention to recreation warnings, such as river closures from local emergency services offices prior to entering the water. Officials stress the single most important item a person can do on the water to reduce risk is to wear a life jacket. USACE will continue its efforts to promote boating and water safety and with the public's support we will work to reduce the risk and save lives.

USACE personnel are available to help educate and inform visitors about water safety.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, hosting more than 370 million visits per year at 422 recreation parks in 43 states.

For the USACE recreation area near you visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

Page last updated Tue July 12th, 2011 at 11:06