|Updated: 5/17 11:11 am
||Published: 5/17 11:04 am
The local branch of the Army Corps of Engineers is raised awareness by wearing life jackets to work on Friday. It’s to kick off National Safe Boating Week which runs May 18-27, ending before the Memorial Day holiday when many people will be hitting the water.
Wear Your Life Jacket to Work day is designed to show you can still get plenty done while wearing a life jacket. They’re lightweight, unintrusive and can save your life in an emergency.
“You can drown within 20 seconds, it can happen that fast.”
Sara Goodeyon with the Army Corps of Engineers suggests expect the unexpected, or at least be prepared for it. But she says often, many people aren't.
“Often times we hear the argument ‘I don't want to wear a life jacket because it's too big and uncomfortable.’”
Even knowing the dangers, boaters and swimmers end up putting themselves at risk.
“People go to the lake, they're on the boat, or they're on the dock and they're not expecting to go in the water, but an accident can happen.”
Just like it did on Tuesday. University of Arkansas students Rachel Swetnam and William Varner died on Grand Lake when the speed boat they were riding in crashed into a houseboat. Several others were hurt; investigators say alcohol and speed led to the accident.
Goodeyon tells FOX23 News one of the biggest dangers in any boating accident is if someone is thrown from the boat or falls into the water. She says they go in head first, making the person gasp, filling the lungs with water, and that’s when you can drown in just seconds.
But that can all be prevented by taking the few seconds to put on a life jacket
“A life jacket is going to keep your head above water and is going to allow time for rescue.”
If you don't have a life jacket, the Army Corps of Engineers has life jacket loner boards at most area lakes where you can use these for free.