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.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – 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.

The nearly 650 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2014 $100 million budget, nearly 1,600 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $155 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.