By U.S. ArmyJune 26, 2013
GALVESTON, Texas (June 26, 2013) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District partnered with the Houston Sail and Power Squadron (a unit of the United States Power Squadrons) to provide recreational boaters with vessel safety examinations June 29-30 and July 4 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Trinity River Island Recreation Area (also known as the Wallisville Lake Project Boat Ramp) in Wallisville, Texas.
"All water activities are fun, but all need to be safe," said Chris Leavitt, HSPS. "Having the right safety equipment including life jackets, signaling devices and a first aid kit can make the difference between a small problem that makes for a good story later and a catastrophe."
The USACE Galveston District is gearing up for a busy 4th of July (a holiday known for drinking and boating and deadly accidents), by stressing water safety awareness to all those who intend to recreate at the Wallisville Lake Project and encouraging boaters to put safety first and use caution over the holiday weekend.
Commander Col. Christopher Sallese, USACE Galveston District, encourages boaters to take advantage of the vessel safety checks and reminds boaters to never drink while boating as it can impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time as well as increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.
"It is crucial that we educate the public about water safety and the risk associated with BUI," said Sallese. "Not only is it is illegal in every U.S. state and territory to operate a boat while under the influence, alcohol is also dangerous for passengers as intoxication can lead to slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents. With the arrival of the holiday weekend and the anticipated increase in boating activity, it is imperative that we work with our partners to spread this safety message."
According to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, BUI still accounts for a disproportional number of on-the-water deaths. In 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in just eight percent of boating accidents overall, but figured in 17 percent of boating fatalities, while in 2012, almost 71 percent of those who died in a boating accident drowned and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.
"We understand the important role that education plays in saving lives and we're working with our partners to extend our safety skills and drowning prevention knowledge, expertise and services to promote BUI awareness, prevent accidents and encourage boaters to wear life jackets," said Brian Walch, a park ranger for the USACE Galveston District at Wallisville.
As the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the U.S., the Corps has a dedicated focus on water safety by encouraging the public to put safety first and become water aware when participating in water-related recreational activities. The district routinely partners with organizations throughout the year to educate, help reduce public fatalities and improve public safety at its lakes, recreational areas and public facilities such as Wallisville.
The 23,000-acre Wallisville Lake Project supports navigation of commercial and recreational boats, serves as a water supply, is a favorite recreational destination among Houstonians and supports an array of fish and wildlife habitats. From paddling, hiking, biking and fishing, the Wallisville Lake Project provides visitors unlimited recreational opportunities, offers awareness-raising educational opportunities and supports environmental partnership initiatives.
Visit our water safety website at http://1.usa.gov/VGdlcx. For information about the Wallisville Lake Project, visit http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Locations/WallisvilleLakeProjectOffice.aspx. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.