With the summer season inching closer, the Army Corps of Engineers is reminding the public about the importance of water safety when visiting the nation’s lakes and rivers. Several people lose their lives when visiting US Army Corp properties every year. Many of these tragedies are water-related. Before entering or being around water this summer, keep these five things in mind:
-Expect the Unexpected- accidents can happen within seconds. If you are ejected from a boat, fall, or jump into water that is colder than 70 degrees, you can inhale water from involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, panic, and sometimes vertigo that can cause you to drown. You can also be knocked unconscious if you are ejected from your boat or fall into the water along the shoreline while fishing.
-Wear a life jacket- It will help you survive an unexpected fall into the water. It can also save your life if you become exhausted because of fatigue, waves, or current swimming. An adult can drown within 60 seconds. It takes a strong swimmer 10 minutes to put on a life jacket after entering the water. Remember: Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns.
-Know your swimming abilities- Swimming in natural waters, such as a lake, river, or pond, is different from swimming in a pool. Your swimming ability decreases with age. It is never too late to take swimming lessons. Several people drown when trying to retrieve boats and toys every year.
-Alcohol and water are a deadly combination- Alcohol induces an inner ear condition that can cause you to become disorientated when underwater and not realize which way is up. This can cause you to drown.
-Understand “boater’s hypnosis”- this is a condition brought on by the effects of the sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion experienced during a day of boating. It can slow down your reaction time almost as much as if you were legally intoxicated. Adding alcohol to this condition intensifies the effect.
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