TULSA — Park rangers at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District lakes will be out in force over the Fourth of July holiday conducting boat safety checks and educating the public about water safety.
Boaters at Corps-managed lakes should be aware that rangers will be doing these boating safety checks at boat ramps and on the water. Rangers will be checking for items such as registrations, a sound-producing device such as a whistle, horn or bell, properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for everyone onboard, and a USCG approved throwable.
Rangers routinely interact with lake visitors, and this holiday week, they will be encouraging visitors to swim at a designated swim beach, swim with a friend, to know their swimming ability and stay within that ability, and avoid excessive use of alcohol while boating or swimming.
Already this recreation season, nine people have drowned at Tulsa District lakes. All of the victims were males, none of them was wearing a life jacket, and none of them drowned in a designated swim area.
Rangers will work to educate the public that swimming in lakes and rivers is not the same as swimming in a pool. Swimmers can tire quickly in open water, and conditions can rapidly change.
Visitors should expect the unexpected and be prepared. About 90 percent of people who drown never intended to be in the water.
The USACE Tulsa District will continue to encourage visitors to wear a life jacket when on or around the water. Even if a person can swim, they should wear a life jacket because accidents happen. A life jacket provides flotation and time for rescue.
The Corps’ goal is always to have zero public fatalities. Although this goal is already unreachable, the Corps is still striving to prevent accidents by working with safety partners to encourage life jacket use and swimming abilities. The Corps wants the public to have a safe and enjoyable time while recreating at their lakes.
The USACE Tulsa District provides recreation opportunities for more than 22.5 million visitors annually at 38 lakes. For more information on USACE Tulsa District recreation sites and activities, visit www.swt.usace.army.mil.