Corps Stresses Water Safety During Holiday Weekend

Park Ranger Chris Hannaford explains the mandatory life jacket policy to a group of visitors during the 2009 Mississippi Lakes Water Safety Saturation. – Photo Provided

   The Fourth of July is right around the corner and while you are making your holiday weekend plans, U.S. Corps of Engineers officials stress SAFETY at the top of your list.

    “Boaters need to be sure and have a U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for every member of your boating party,” Ranger Chris Hannaford reminded. Persons on board must not only have a PFD, but it must fit properly, be readily accessible, and be in good condition.  

    Boaters should also be familiar and abide by all new life jacket wear requirements which took effect May 22, 2009 on Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes. Rules include:

    • All persons must wear a Type I, II, or III US Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while swimming outside of designated swimming areas. Waivers may be issued by Resource Managers to exempt participants of special events, such as triathlons, from this requirement while participating in the event.

    • All persons must wear a Type I, II, or III US Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while skiing or being pulled by a vessel, regardless of vessel length.

    • All persons must wear a Type I, II, or III US Coast Guard-approved life jacket on powered vessels 16 to 26 feet in length whenever under power by the main propulsion unit. (This does not include when the vessel is stationary.)

    • All persons must wear a Type I, II, or III US Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times on powered vessels less than 16 feet in length or on non-powered vessels, regardless of length. Non-powered vessels include, but are not limited to canoes, kayaks, flat-bottoms/john boats, sailboats, and paddleboats.

    Other boating tips are never boat alone, always practice the buddy system, and remember alcohol and water don’t mix.

    For those who will be visiting Enid’s designated swimming beaches: swim in the designated swimming area, never swim alone, have adult supervision for children, never depend on inflatables to keep you afloat, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD, and NEVER dive into the water.

    “We would also like to remind campers and visitors who will be frequenting the campgrounds over the holiday weekend to be extremely cautious due to the large camping crowds and congestion,” Hannaford reported. “We ask all visitors to pay close attention to cyclist, small children and other pedestrians, and vehicle speed while driving through the campgrounds.”

    Other information one might need to plan their Independence Day Activities at Enid Lake are:

• All persons born after June 30, 1980 must have passed a boating education course approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to legally operate a vessel (boat).

• In addition, a person less than 12 years of age must also be accompanied on board by someone who is at least 21 years old, and the boating education certificates must be carried on board the vessel whenever it is operated by someone required to have a certificate.

    For more information on water safety or Fourth of July Safety tips please contact the Enid Lake Field Office at 662-563-4571 or visit our website at : http://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Lakes/ms/enid/.

 

U.S. Corps Officials Make 1,700 Water Checks During Saturation Weekend

    The Enid Lake Field Office hosted the annual Vicksburg District’s Mississippi Lakes Water Safety Saturation on Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and June 21. Throughout the weekend Park Rangers from Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes teamed with fellow rangers from the Arkansas lakes of Greeson, Degray, and Ouachita and made over 1,700 water safety contacts.

    During the event the ranger staff saturated Enid Lake’s recreational areas to inform lake visitors of the importance of water safety and wearing life jackets. Rangers also promoted the new Mandatory Life Jacket Policy that took effect on May 22, 2009 at Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes.

    Throughout the event rangers not only informed visitors about water safety, but also rewarded visitors who were practicing water safety while boating and swimming. Rewards included: drinking bottles and cups, Frisbees, miniature footballs, various key chains, Wal-Mart Gift Cards, and soft coolers. The 2009 Vicksburg District’s Mississippi Lakes Water Safety Saturation was a great success. The Enid Lake Field Office would like to thank all lake visitors for their cooperation and wearing their life jackets.

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