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    Corps urges water safety over Labor Day weekend

    4:11 PM, Aug 29, 2013   |    comments
    (Photo: USACE)
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (USACE) - Labor Day weekend is among the top three busiest weekends of the year at the region's lakes and rivers, and officials of the Army Corps of Engineers say they expect this year will be no exception.

    Nearly 90 percent of the drownings at Corps-managed lakes in 2013 could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a life jacket. There are a number of styles available, including life jackets for fishing, paddling, water skiing, and riding a personal watercraft.

    If you don't have a life jacket or forget yours, a limited supply of life jackets are available for loan at Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Clearwater, Greers Ferry, Nimrod, Blue Mountain, Millwood, Dierks, DeQueen and Gillham lakes, as well as several Corps parks along the Arkansas River.

    Whether boating or swimming, avoid alcohol. More than half of all the people who drown consume alcohol prior to their accident, so don't drink alcohol if you plan to have fun in or on the water.

    Here are some other tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

    Swimming:
    * Wear your life jacket
    * Learn to swim.
    * Watch your children at all times, and put a life jacket on them.
    * Never dive into lakes or rivers.
    * Never rely on inner tubes, water wings or other toys to stay afloat.
    * Don't over-estimate your swimming skills.
    * Throw a floatation device to help someone in trouble. Don't go in the water!
    * Swim only in designated areas.
    * Never swim alone.

    Boating:
    * Wear your life jacket
    * Know your boat and know the rules of the water.
    * Have all required safety equipment for your boat.
    * Don't overload the boat.
    * Check the weather forecast, and check flow conditions if boating on a river.
    * Post a sharp lookout and add even more care at night.
    * File a float plan with family or friends who are not on the vessel.

    Following these water safety tips can help make your family's holiday an enjoyable one. Remember safety comes first!

    Water safety tips and life jacket loaner program information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock.

    (Source: US Army Corps of Engineers)

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