News Stories

Corps Urges Public to Be Extra Safe During Extended Labor Day Weekend

Published Aug. 31, 2017

The extended Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer and less time in the water for recreational swimming.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington District water safety officials ask the public to please play it safe while on, in, or near the water during the last hurrah of the summer. USACE public recreation fatality statistics show that during the summer recreational season at Corps lakes 88 percent of drownings were male, 89 percent were not wearing a life jacket, and 47 percent were swimming in areas not designated as a swimming area.

   “Most people that drown would have survived if they had worn a life jacket,” said National Water Safety Team member and ranger Carmen Boyette of the Wilmington District’s Jordan Lake Visitors Assistance Center. “Life jackets come in many styles, sizes, and colors. Choose the right one that fits you properly and make sure to wear it correctly. There is a life jacket for every kind of water activity including swimming.”  Visitors are invited to stop by any of the Wilmington District’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Centers to speak with a ranger about life jackets and to view other interactive educational exhibits.

   Boyette said one of the most comfortable life jackets for adult swimmers to wear is a manual belt type inflatable life jacket. If you wear an inflatable life jacket of any kind make sure you know how it works, how to inflate it, inspect it before every use, how to rearm the CO2 cartridge, and repack it properly.

   Every year several people lose their lives because they were encouraged to do something, such as swim across a lake, cove or pond, out to the nearest buoy, to retrieve a beach ball or something else that floated away or some other activity like jumping off a cliff or bridge. Your actions can have deadly consequences, so you should never encourage anyone to do these types of activities. Friends should do things like swim in designated areas and encourage each other to wear a life jacket.

   While on or near the water watch out for each other at all times. It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown and 60 seconds for an adult to drown. It is a misconception that if someone is drowning they will

yell for help. Several people drown every year within 10 feet of safety because the people around them were not paying attention and did not recognize the signs of drowning.

   Increased water safety awareness can help ensure that you and your loved ones have fun and return home safely this weekend and all year round. Always remember to wear a life jacket because it could save your life or the life of someone you love. Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns. Learn more at