The Fourth of July is one of the busiest holidays at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands and waters, according to Kavanaugh Breazeale, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg.
“Visitors are encouraged to have fun and be safe,” said Breazeale. “The Vicksburg District urges visitors to expect the unexpected and practice these safety tips this Fourth of July.”
Visitors can have fun and stay safe by observing a few simple precautions:
Wear a life jacket. Accidents can happen even to the most responsible boaters, and a life jacket can provide time for rescue. Statistics show that 90 percent of those who drown at Corps lakes and waterways would have survived if they had worn a life jacket. Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death.
Know your swimming ability. Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool because conditions can change quickly in open water and a swimmer can tire quickly and get into trouble. A life jacket can help conserve energy and provide flotation.
Be a “water watcher.” Parents should keep an eye on their children when on or near the water. Drownings can happen quickly, and a child can drown in 20 seconds.
“A drowning victim’s head will be back and they will be gasping for air, they will not be yelling,” explained Breazeale. “Watch closely.”
Avoid exhaust fumes around boats. Fumes can accumulate anywhere in or around boats. Areas around boats where carbon monoxide fumes may be present should be avoided. Do not let friends swim under or around the boarding platform where fumes can accumulate.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness.
“Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer,” Breazeale pointed out. “Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around your boat at all times and install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on your boat.”