Every summer, various groups and organizations come out with a list of water safety tips for those that plan to spend time on rivers or lakes. One group you might not associate with providing these sort of tips is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But they did.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is urging everyone to be safe when recreating on lakes and rivers this upcoming holiday weekend.

The Corps is recommending the following water safety tips for the Fourth of July week:

Boaters: Before getting underway, know your boat and know the rules of the river or lake.

  • Check your boat for all required safety equipment;
  • Consider the size of the boat, the number of passengers and the amount of extra equipment you have;
  • If you will be in a power boat, verify the electrical system and fuel system is in good working order;
  • Wear your life jacket, don’t just carry it on board – events can happen quickly;
  • Leave alcohol behind to increase your safety and decrease your risk;
  • Check the weather forecast;
  • File a float plan with a friend or family member; and
  • Take a safe boating course to gain knowledge and skills for safe boating.

Swimmers: Since most drowning victims had no intention of being in water and since most people drown within 10-30 feet of safety, it is important that you and your family learn to swim well. Please remember:

  • Don’t overestimate your swimming skills;
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas and never swim alone; and
  • Never rely on toys such as inner tubes and water wings to stay afloat – life jackets work better.