KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, which manages 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, encourages you not to be a statistic this Labor Day weekend and to wear a life jacket while in, on, or around the water.
“Since March of this year, eight water-related fatalities have occurred at our lakes,” says Kyle Ruona, Kansas City District public safety program manager. “None of these individuals were wearing a life jacket.”
The Kansas City District urges visitors to be prepared, understand the importance of water safety and to be alert to expect the unexpected.
“Whether kayaking, swimming or fishing, we want all our visitors to exercise good judgment when on or around the water,” says Angelia Lentz, Tuttle Creek Lake natural resource specialist. “We encourage everyone to wear a life jacket and to remember that boating and alcohol are a bad combination. We want all our visitors to have a great time, but the most important thing is their safety.”
Half the fatalities this year reportedly resulted from individuals swimming beyond their personal limits. Others were from falling from a vessel.
“Swimming in a lake or river is more difficult than a swimming pool,” says Ruona. “Swimming abilities may be impacted due to waves, current and variable depth. Even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills and abilities while swimming in a lake or river. Reverse the risk by challenging yourself and your friends to wear a life jacket.”
“It’s important to help and encourage others, of all ages, to learn swimming and water safety skills,” says Bradly Wright, Harry S. Truman Lake natural resource management specialist. “Don’t wait for an emergency to happen, prevent it, life jackets save lives.”
When around the water always wear a life jacket and boat responsibly. For more water safety information visit www.pleasewearit.com and see some tips below. Play it safe this holiday weekend.
Wear a life jacket.
- Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death.
- Accidents happen, even to responsible boaters. A life jacket can provide time for rescue.
- The following video explains how not wearing a life jacket one time can impact lives forever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBhrMdGoZ3g
Know your swimming ability.
- Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool because a swimmer can tire more quickly and get into trouble. Conditions can change quickly in open water.
- Swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket. A life jacket will help conserve energy and provide flotation.
Be a “Water Watcher.”
- When on or near the water watch your children.
- A child can drown in 20 seconds.
- Drowning happens quickly and quietly. A drowning victim’s head will be back, they will be gasping for air, they will not be yelling, and their arms will be slapping the water as though trying to climb out of the water.