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Corps offers water safety tips for holiday weekend

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest holidays at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District-Corps lands and waters. Visitors are encouraged to have fun and be safe.

The Vicksburg District urges visitors to expect the unexpected and practice these safety tips this Fourth of July.

Wear a life jacket

Accidents happen, even to responsible boaters. A life jacket can provide time for rescue. Statistics show that 90 percent of those who drown at Corps lakes and waterways would have survived if they had worn a life jacket. Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death.

Know your abilities

Swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket. Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool. Conditions can change quickly in open water and a swimmer can tire quickly and get into trouble. A life jacket will help conserve energy and provide flotation.

Be a “Water Watcher”

When on or near the water watch your children. Drowning happens quickly and quietly and a child can drown in 20 seconds. A drowning victim’s head will be back and they will be gasping for air, they will not be yelling. Watch closely.

Avoid exhaust fumes

Exhaust fumes can accumulate anywhere in or around boats regardless of what type of boat. Avoid areas around boats where these carbon monoxide exhaust fumes may be present. Do not let friends swim under or around the boarding platform where fumes can accumulate. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around your boat at all times and install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on your boat.

The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. The primary mission of the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana lakes, backwater levees and structures is flood damage risk reduction. These areas have over 9.2 million annual visitors, supporting approximately 500 jobs and adding approximately $101 million into the local economies.

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