WAPPAPELLO, MO (KFVS) - The Corps of Engineers is offering several tips to stay safe in the water over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and into the summer:
-Boaters should take appropriate safety classes, be familiar with governing state laws and have proper safety equipment (life jackets, fire extinguishers, navigational lights, etc.) onboard before boating. A carbon monoxide detector can help alert you to this silent danger. Do regular periodic inspections of your boat and trailer.
-Wear your life jacket - don't just carry one on board. Wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is in new or like-new condition.
-Alcohol and water don't mix. More than half of all drowning fatalities involve alcohol. Just one beer can impair balance, vision, judgment, and reaction time. Research shows that four hours of boating, exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare, and wind produces fatigue that simulates drunkenness. Boating fatigue combined with alcohol consumption intensifies the effects of both and increases accident risks. In Missouri, the state law requires children under seven years of age wear a life jacket.
-Know your boat's capacity for passengers and gear. (Consider boat size, the number of passengers, and extra equipment before loading).
-Carry a set of navigational charts on board.
-Always check the weather forecast before getting underway.
-File a float plan with family or friends who are not on the vessel.
-Learn to swim well! Drowning is the second leading cause of all accidental deaths in persons 15-44 years of age. Two-thirds of those who drown never had the intention of being in the water.
-Watch your children at all times when around the water.
-Never dive into lakes and rivers. There could be hidden dangers.
-Never rely on toys such as inner tubes and water wings to stay afloat.
-Don't over-estimate your swimming skills.
-Reach or throw a floatation device to help someone in trouble. Don't go in the water!
-Swim only in designated swimming areas.
-Always swim with a buddy and never swim alone.
According to the Corps you can participate in one of their weekend beach programs held at Rockwood Point, Redman Creek and Peoples Creek beaches.
For more information contact the Corps of Engineers management office at (573) 222-8562.