(Fremont County, Wyo.) – Before you head out for a day on or near the water this Memorial Day weekend, make sure you have life jackets for everyone and, this is important, make sure everyone wears one. Life jackets save lives by keeping a person afloat and providing time for rescue.
Expect the unexpected – 9 out of 10 people who drowned didn’t wear the right fit or type of life jacket.
Most people who drown never intended to be in the water; they unexpectedly fell from a boat or dock into the water. When this happens, a person will reflexively gasp and can inhale up to one liter of water and drown in less than a minute.
Others get into trouble swimming out to retrieve a boat that floated away, or swimming in association with a boat. Swimming in natural waters is not the same as swimming in a pool. Even strong swimmers can get into trouble and be gone within seconds. It takes an adult 60 seconds to drown and a child 20 seconds to drown. Swimming ability also decreases with age.
Swim at a designated swim beach and adults are encouraged to watch their children. Why? Because most people drowned within 10 feet of safety. Many shorelines at lakes, reservoirs and rivers have drop offs and you can be in water over your head instantly or pulled under by the current.
Be safe this Memorial Day weekend. Practice safe boating and swimming.
–U.S. Army Corps of Engineers