KANSAS CITY, Mo.— As one of the nation's largest federal provider of water-based recreation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District stresses water safety and urges extra caution while in or around water during the upcoming Independence Day holiday.
Many people enjoy water-based recreation as part of their Fourth of July celebration. Outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy scenic river and lake views while taking advantage of picnicking, camping, fishing, boating and swimming opportunities.
Unfortunately, some celebrations end tragically due to accidents in, on and around the water. To ensure a safer recreation experience over the holiday and throughout the year, the Corps urges visitors to practice the following water safety tips:
Leave fireworks at home. Using pyrotechnics poses a high risk of starting fires in parks and habitat areas, and are not allowed on Corps lands, to include all lakes in the Kansas City District. Recreation officials encourage visitors to attend local fireworks displays in nearby communities.
Campfires and barbecues are only allowed in designated areas. Some locations have restrictions on open fires, so check the information kiosks at recreation areas for site-specific fire restrictions and safety notices. If charcoal briquettes are allowed, be sure they cool completely before disposal -- never dump hot coals onto the ground where they can ignite nearby vegetation. Be mindful of fire risks before lighting wood, charcoal or gas fire.
Wear your life jacket. Since October 2016, Kansas City District lakes have experienced six drownings and one additional water-related fatality due to a fall overboard; 72% of which were between the ages of 14-43. Though none wore a life jacket, the majority of these tragedies may have been prevented by simply wearing a life jacket. Please do your friends and loved ones a favor – wear your lifejacket.
Learn to swim and don't overestimate your skill. Once you know how to swim, ensure that you always swim with a buddy. Don't rely on inner tubes or water toys to keep you afloat. Know your limits. Each year many people drown by overestimating their swimming skills and swimming beyond their limits. Beware of cool water temperatures – this can lead to much quicker tiredness and even hypothermia from prolonged exposure.
Do not dive or jump from cliffs or structures situated near the water. The Kansas City District prohibits cliff diving and bridge jumping because of the associated dangers. Many cliffs and bridges have a shelf or shallow slope underneath the water line. What you can’t see is what could injure you.
Don't drink and boat. About half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation involve alcohol use. This is about one in five reported boating fatalities. Don't include alcohol in your outing if you are planning to have fun in, on, or near the water.
Threat monitoring agencies have issued a reminder that Foreign Terrorist Organizations are pursuing efforts to motivate individuals to become Homegrown Violent Extremists and to take action at large gathering events. Everyone is reminded to exercise vigilance while in attendance at large gathering events.
For more information on these and other water safety tips please visit the Corps' water safety website at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/National-Water-Safety_Program/ . For information about outdoor recreation opportunities in the Kansas City District, visit http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Locations/.
The Kansas City District is a team of dedicated professionals with a strong heritage and proven results who, in collaboration with our partners, proudly serve in the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation's most complex problems.