Corps of Engineers give safety tips at the lake for Memorial Day weekend

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reminds people to remain safe during Memorial Day weekend activities at the lake. Tip #1: Wear a life jacket.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reminds people to remain safe during Memorial Day weekend activities at the lake.

In a press release, the Corps said that life jackets are one of the most important safety measures as it helps the wearer conserve energy and provides floatation. The Corps said nearly 85% of all boating-related fatalities were individuals who were not wearing a life jacket, including 90% of the people who drowned at Corps lakes.

The Corps also said to expect the unexpected and plan for the unknown. Most people who drown never intended to be in the water as conditions can change quickly in open water. The Corps said individuals participating in activities on the water should know their ability as well as the current lake and facility conditions.

The release also stated that many beach facilities are closed due to 2019 flood damage, as well as new restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corps suggests exercising extreme caution when swimming in non-designated swim areas and never swimming around boat ramps, dam/outlet structures, marinas or other hazardous areas.

The rest of the Corps list of safety precautions include:

  • Avoid jumping from bridges or cliffs into the water. Submerged objects or shallow water can cause serious injury or death.
  • Make sure the size of your vessel is appropriate for the body of water and current or future weather conditions.
  • Double check your boat capacity and don’t overload your vessel.
  • Make sure your boat is prepared.
  • Check to make sure all of the state-required safety items are on board and recheck that they work.
  • Ensure there are enough accessible life jackets for everyone onboard and make sure that they function and fit each person.
  • Check your engine, ventilation, backfire flame arrestor, electrical systems and trailer before you go. Take advantage of free vessel safety checks offered in your area by boating-related agencies.
  • Maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, gloves, etc.
  • Try to avoid crowded areas, including large groups of boats or swimmers, overly crowded boat ramps, or other busy day-use facilities.
  • Be aware that there may be fewer restroom facilities available for public use.
  • Practice good hygiene measures such as proper hand washing, coughing into your elbow, etc.

The Kansas City District will reopen some recreation areas and campsites at Stockton and Pomme de Terre lakes for the Memorial Day weekend. The Corps said it will honor reservations previously made for these areas and a staff member will contact those individuals. These areas will not be open for walk-in camping and a portion of the campsites will be closed to reduce capacity in the parks.

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