WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 101 days of summer and traditionally serves as the official kick-off for the summer recreation season.
As the nation's largest federal provider of water-based outdoor recreation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides its visitors a wide range of diverse and dynamic recreational opportunities, and the safety of these visitors is the Corps' highest priority.
Echoing the U.S. Army’s “Take 5” summer safety campaign, the Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, has five important safety tips to remember when boating or swimming this holiday weekend...and all year long.
1) Wear a life jacket. State law requires that a lifejacket is available for every person on board a boat, and children 12 and under must have it on while underway.
2) Watch your children. It only takes a child an average of 20 seconds to drown. Be a water watcher and designate someone to always watch children or any person with special needs while on or around the water.
3) Know your limits. Don’t give in to peer pressure about jumping off a bluff or swimming farther than you should. Recognize your limitations and stay within them.
4) Safe boating. Take a boating safety course. Know the rules before you boat. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the majority of boating-related fatalities involve operators who have not received any boating safety instruction.
5) Alcohol and water don’t mix. More than half of all drowning deaths are related to alcohol consumption. In the Corps’ Walla Walla District, recreation areas where the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited include:
® Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, Washington -- All Corps-managed lands and waters.
® Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, Washington -- Charbonneau, Levey, Fishhook, and Windust Parks, located on Lake Sacajawea upstream of the dam.
® McNary Lock and Dam, Washington and Oregon -- Hood Park, located on Lake Wallula near the Snake River confluence.
® Little Goose Lock and Dam, Washington -- Little Goose Lock and Dam Visitor Recreation Area, located below the dam tailrace on the south side of the Snake River.
® Lower Granite Lock and Dam, Washington -- Green Belt Boat Launch, Chestnut Beach, and Swallows Park day-use recreation areas, located on Lower Granite Lake.
® Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, Idaho -- Powerhouse Road fishing area, located below the dam tailrace on the west side of the North Fork of the Clearwater River.
The long weekend also marks a major increase in traffic and congestion on our highways, an increase in outdoor recreation at our nation's many parks and recreational areas and warrants caution to ensure that all are safe throughout their activities.
Go to the Walla Walla District website, www.nww.usace.army.mil and click on the Recreation information link to get the latest information on outdoor recreation opportunities near you. For more water safety information, tips and educational materials, check out the Corps National Water Safety Program website at http://watersafety.usace.army.mil/.
The U.S. Army has once again developed a webpage offering feature articles, posters and videos focusing on more than 20 topics to help you stay safe while enjoying the 101 days of summer. Please visit https://safety.army.mil and click on the “Take 5” icon in the bottom right corner.
“It's that time of year again -- time when we all start enjoying the nice weather in the beautiful inland northwest. With that comes hazards that we're all familiar with but sometimes forget in our zeal to get outside,” said Walla Walla District Commander David Caldwell. “Whether you enjoy riding your motorcycle, ORV or bicycle; hiking trails; fishing; camping; barbequing; swimming; boating; working in your yard; or simply just getting a sun tan, please take that extra few minutes to think about the activity and how to do it safely.”
“Take Five for Safety” this holiday weekend -- and throughout the 101 days of summer -- make your next trip to a Corps lake a safe and enjoyable one.