SAVANNAH, Ga. – More public recreation fatalities occur in July than any other month, so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) asks the recreating public to play it safe while on, in, or near the water this holiday weekend. Drowning is a leading cause of death this time of year. There have been seven water-related deaths this year at Hartwell, Richard B. Russell, and J. Strom Thurmond lakes. Of those deaths, USACE public recreation fatality statistics show the following trends:
- All victims were male AND over the age of 30
- None of the victims were wearing a life jacket
- It is suspected that drugs/alcohol had a role in some of the cases
- Six of the seven victims did not plan to be in the water
USACE personnel expect an increased number of visitors on the lakes this holiday weekend and throughout the summer and urge everyone to wear a life jacket. Statistics show that more than 140 people drown at Corps lake and river projects every year, yet the number of deaths by drowning could be reduced drastically if everyone would wear a life jacket while in and around the water. Last year, 87 percent of drowning deaths at Corps projects were male, 84 percent were 18 years old or older, and 87 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Visitors to the Savannah District recreational areas are encouraged to take advantage of the free life jacket loaner program at many designated swimming areas. Visitors can take a lifejacket from the display, use it, and return it when finished.
In addition to wearing a life jacket, USACE urges visitors to practice the following safety tips:
- Swim only in designated swimming areas - don’t swim across coves/out to buoys.
- Be mindful of all posted warnings
- Don’t overestimate your swimming skills
- Never swim alone
- Watch children at all times and ensure that they are wearing a life jacket
- Never rely on inner tubes, water wings or other toys to stay afloat
- Reach or throw a flotation device to help someone in trouble. Don’t go in the water!
Following these safety tips, can help make your family’s holiday a safe and enjoyable one. For more water safety tips, visit https://www.usace.army.mil/missions/civil-works/recreation/national-water-safety_program.
Note for Media: USACE Savanah District is available for interviews to discuss water safety. Please contact Savannah District CCO.
Release no. 21-016