Recreating on the water is a great way to spend time with friends and loved ones. However, every year an average of nine people drown while out recreating at the Little Rock District’s lakes and rivers. According to the Little Rock District Chief of Safety and Occupational Health Dennis Bradley, “Causes can be as simple as swimmers exceeding their swimming capabilities. For example, people think they they can swim from their boat to a buoy and back, and they cannot, and end up drowning.”
The Corps takes every opportunity to promote water safety, because even one drowning is one too many. The Corps finds creative ways to promote water safety messaging by following current trends in the social media realm such as lip syncing and dancing, among many others. In following these trends, it allows the water safety team to reach a broader audience in order to ensure their message reaches as many people as possible.
In addition, the water safety team can be seen out and about at various events across Arkansas such as the Big Buck Classic, Little Rock Boat and RV shows, Boo on the Bayou, etc. At these events, members of the water safety team educate parents and children on how to be safe on or near the water.
Even though the numbers of fatalities from drowning per year are low, this is still an important cause because lives are lost. It is not only important to us at the Corps, but to the families who have lost loved ones. Most of these drownings could have been prevented if the individual had been wearing a life jacket.
According to Brooke Thomason, the program manager for the Little Rock District’s water safety team, “The main focus of our program is educating the public on how to properly wear life jackets and encouraging life jacket wear while recreating on Corps lakes and rivers. Our goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of the visitors that enjoy our projects. We want everyone to visit our lakes and rivers and return home safely to their families.”
So while you are out recreating on or near the water, please remember to be safe and to always wear your life jacket.
For information on how to select the right life jacket for your water activities, please visit http://www.uscgboating.org/images/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf