NEW YORK -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers and volunteers will be
working this summer season to increase visitor's awareness of the importance of
practicing safe and sensible recreation activities in and around Army Corps waters.

Army Corps officials are working to reduce fatalities at the more than 2,500 Army Corps-managed
recreation areas nationwide. For example, additional signage has been
situated at Army Corps-managed recreation areas, and when speaking with visitors,
park rangers and volunteers are emphasizing the importance of water safety.
People of all ages are strongly encouraged to practice water safety this summer

Before heading in or around the water consider these five water safety facts:

• Expect the unexpected -- Accidents happen; prepare by learning to swim well
enough to make it at least 40 yards. When a non-swimmer unexpectedly falls into deep
water there is a gasp reflex that causes the victim to ingest water and that in turn
causes panic; the victim can quickly, and quietly, go under.

• Wear a life jacket -- By providing time to be rescued, it will help ensure you survive an
unexpected fall into the water. An adult can drown in 60 seconds. It takes a strong
swimmer 10 minutes to put on a life jacket after entering the water.

• Know your swimming abilities -- According to a safety professional, it's estimated
that 93 percent of people who go swimming are unable to swim more than 40 yards, if
at all. Be aware that swimming in natural waters is different from swimming in a pool,
and swimming ability decreases with age. If you can't swim the length of a pool, you
can't make it across a lake.

• Alcohol and water is a deadly combination -- Alcohol consumption induces an inner
ear condition (caloric labyrinthitis) that will cause an individual to become disoriented
when underwater and not realize which direction is up.

• Understand "boater's hypnosis" -- It is a condition brought on by the mixture of sun,
wind, noise, vibration, and motion experienced during a day of boating. It causes
fatigue and reduces reaction time, especially when combined with alcohol consumption.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation's largest federal provider of outdoor
and water-based 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. For more information on
the Army Corps' recreation sites and activities, visit

Page last updated Wed June 6th, 2012 at 15:34