Don’t let your Memorial Day be a Tragedy – Play it Safe When You Recreate

Published May 24, 2017

FORT WORTH, Texas – Memorial Day is one of our most meaningful holidays because it is a day set aside to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our Nation. 

The holiday also marks the unofficial start of summer and peak patronage at our numerous lakes and recreation areas.  It is a good time to remind the public to take the time and necessary steps to ensure safety is always the first priority when recreating to ensure that a fun time does not end in tragedy.

In the last 10 years, 88 percent of all USACE public water-related fatalities were men and 68 percent were between the ages of 20 and 60, according to data from the USACE National Operations Center for Water Safety. The center also found that 84 percent of all public water-related fatalities involved people who were not wearing life jackets, that most water-related fatalities involved people swimming in non-designated areas, and 27 percent of boating fatalities involved people falling overboard.

“Whenever I learn of a death that occurred at one of our facilities my first thought is sadness for the family members but also frustration because I know that most of the deaths could have been prevented by wearing a life jacket and taking basic safety precautions,” said Fort Worth District Commander, Col. Calvin Hudson II. 

Persons using our lakes whether swimming, boating or just camping or picnicking should always think about potential emergency situations. Below are a few tried and true safety precautions that could save your life.  It may sound like a cliché but remember that life jackets float but you don’t.

  • Wear a properly fitted life jacket when in or near the water

  • Learn how to swim and swim within your limitations and abilities

  • Swim only in designated areas and always swim with a buddy

  • Children should always be supervised when in or near the water

  • Do not dive from elevated areas such as bluffs, large rocks, trees, bridges, etc.

  • Do not swim after floats that have drifted away nor rely on floats as life jacket substitutes

  • Pay attention and comply with posted warnings and be mindful of exposed hazards

  • Avoid alcohol and other drug use that impair physical ability and judgement

  • Avoid risky behavior and challenges that could lead to injury or death

  • Know the risks associated with boats, personal watercraft and other related activities. 

For information on Fort Worth District Facilities Closures:


About the Fort Worth District: The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was established in 1950. The District is responsible for water resources development in two-thirds of Texas, and design and construction at military installations in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico.  Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: and SWF Facebook at:

Rhonda Paige

Release no. 17-012