Last year, 15 people drowned in lakes managed by the Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
That includes lakes in Oklahoma, southern Kansas, and northern Texas.
“This year we’ve already exceeded that number and we’re not half way through the recreation season yet,” said Nate Herring of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District. “None of the victims were wearing a life jacket. All but one of these could have been prevented with the use of a life jacket.”
At the current pace, the number of deaths due to drowning would be the highest total in the last 10 years for the Tulsa District.
“This is record we do not want to see broken,” Herring said.
With the Independence Day weekend approaching, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to remind people going to the lake of the following safety measures:
Wear a life jacket. State law requires that a life jacket is available to every person on board a boat and children ages 12 and younger must have it on while underway. Loaner jackets are available at most Corps lakes.
Make sure the life jacket is right for your activity. The National Safe Boating Council recommends that it should be a personal flotation device suited for your size and weight, is properly zipped and buckled and fits snugly. There are even personal flotation devices for pets.
Make sure there is a personal flotation device on board for each person within reach. State law requires that the personal flotation devices are out an accessible on a boat and not stored out of reach.
Make sure the life jacket fits children. Use the weight of the child to find the proper fitting personal flotation device. If the jacket is tood big a child can slip out of it when they jump in the water. If it is too small it may not have enough buoyancy to float them.
Do not drink alcohol on the water. More than half of all drowning deaths are related to alcohol consumption.
Watch the kids. It only takes a child an average of 20 seconds to drown. Designate someone to watch the kids and persons with special needs while on or around the water.
Know your limitations. Don’t give into peer pressure about jumping off a bluff or swimming farther than you should. Recognize your limitations and stay within them.
Take a boating safety course. Know the law and the rules on the water before you drive. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the majority of boating related fatalities involve operators who did not receive any boating safety instruction.