KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges recreation seekers to follow safety tips while enjoying water-based activities over the Labor Day weekend to lower the risk of accidents.
The Kansas City District, which manages 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, has experienced 14 water-related fatalities this year. Five of these fatalities occurred during the 4th of July and Memorial Day holiday weekends. Please help us make this Labor Day weekend a safe and fun holiday.
“Of the 14, none of the individuals were wearing a life jacket,” said Jonathan Carlisle, water safety program manager for the district. “Additionally, even though it’s against the law to operate a vessel while intoxicated, alcohol was a contributing factor in nine of the drownings. We want all individuals, no matter your swimming abilities, to wear a life jacket at all times when on a vessel, and realize the dangerous effects of alcohol when on or near the water.”
The Kansas City District recommends visitors boat sober and use alcohol responsibly when in or near the water. Alcohol and drugs can intensify an inner-ear condition which causes people to become disoriented when suddenly entering the water and to swim down when they think they are swimming up.
USACE urges their visitors to expect the unexpected and think about these additional three safety tips this holiday weekend.
· Wear a life jacket.
o Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death.
o Expect the unexpected. Accidents happen, even to responsible boaters. A life jacket can provide time for rescue.
o 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.
o 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.
o Swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket. A life jacket will help conserve energy and provide flotation.
· Be a “Water Watcher.”
o When on or near the water watch your children.
o A child can drown in 20 seconds
o 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.
For questions, please contact the Public Affairs Office at (816) 389-3486.