U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District reminds visitors, boaters to practice water safety

PITTSBURGH – As thousands of Americans plan visits to our reservoirs and rivers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District reminds visitors of the importance of practicing safe, sensible, and thoughtful activities in, on, and around open water.

Tragically, people lose their lives while visiting USACE-managed lands and waters every year. Most of the tragedies are water related. We call on the public to keep water safety a priority at our 16 lake projects and all riverways throughout the Pittsburgh District. Water safety is important year-round, but it is especially critical during the summer season when most public recreation fatalities occur.

We remind boaters and all watercraft recreators of three words while on the water: KNOW, TAKE, WEAR. Know the waterways before heading out. Take a boat safety course. Wear a life jacket.

People of all ages are strongly encouraged to practice water safety this summer. Before entering or being around open water (lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.), keep these tips in mind because they could save your life or the life of someone you care about.

  • Pay attention to warning signs on the water — Fixed-crest dams are concrete underwater dams that pose serious and life-threatening dangers to boaters on all three major rivers in the Pittsburgh region. All boaters must pay attention to warning signs and keep out of danger zones posted near our dams when recreating on the rivers.
  • Expect the unexpected – Boating accidents can happen too fast to reach for stowed life jackets, so boaters should always prepare for the unexpected by wearing a life jacket while aboard a watercraft.
  • Wear a life jacket – An adult can drown in 60 seconds, and it can take a strong swimmer several minutes to put on a life jacket after entering the water, especially if the jackets are stowed away.
  • Wear Engine Cutoff Device While Boating – If thrown out of a boat, there is always the danger of being struck by a spinning propeller. An engine cut-off switch lanyard immediately stops the engine after ejection so the operator can regain control of the boat.
  • Alcohol and water are a deadly combination – Alcohol continued to be one of the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for 16 percent of boating deaths.
  • Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning While Boating – Carbon monoxide poisoning is not limited to boats with enclosed cabins. It has proven to be deadly on open motorboats too. Always maintain fresh air circulation; seat children in the forward-most seating on a boat; shut off boat motors to avoid unnecessary idling; be aware of emissions from other boats; and seek medical attention immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Watch Your Children – Young children require constant supervision when they are in, on, or near open water. Always keep young children within arm’s reach.

Learn more water safety tips by visiting www.PleaseWearIt.com and following Please Wear It on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on USACE recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

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