SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Thurmond Project Office participated in two water safety public service announcements aimed to combat the recent drowning fatalities at the district's reservoirs this year.

Miss Southeast, Miss South Carolina and Miss Georgia Southern University lent their voices to the effort along with officers from the Georgia and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Capt. Jon Gridley of Sea Tow-Clarks Hill Lake, and WRDW-TV News 12 in Augusta, Georgia.

For the 2015 summer recreation season, Thurmond officials have recorded seven drowning fatalities, of which all were men between the ages of 21-64 and not wearing a life jacket. The PSAs intend to create awareness on the importance of life jacket use and educate those who visit Corps-managed reservoirs, said Park Ranger Ron Woodall.

"Every time the news reports a tragic drowning death, it is a stark reminder of the dangers people can face in and around water," said Woodall.

To preempt water-related fatalities, Corps park rangers and volunteers perform water safety presentations in classrooms, communities and parks. They also work with community businesses to sponsor water safety promotions such as the life jacket loaner program.

At the lakes or on the road, park rangers typically offer the following water-safety tips:

• Know Your Limits: Swimming in open water is harder than in a pool. People tire faster and get into trouble more quickly.
• Be cautious of sudden drop-offs.
• When boating, don't overload the boat and wear a life jacket that fits. (Even the best water enthusiasts can misjudge changing water conditions when boating or swimming in open water.)
• Be prepared at all times by wearing a life jacket.

The Corps has a dedicated focus on water safety and understands the important role that education plays in saving lives. With the assistance of community leaders, volunteers and the public, water safety coordinators seek to reduce water-related fatalities and improve public safety at Corps lakes, recreational areas and public facilities. Partnership involvement can be as simple as displaying water safety posters and brochures, or providing coupons and discounts for responsible water safety practices. Prospective partners can contact local Corps water safety coordinators for more information.

At Thurmond Lake, information on future programs and promotions is available at the project's resource office. Programs are available for all ages.