Practicing water safety is a must when visiting Center Hill Lake. Of the 109 people who have drowned on the lake since its impoundment in 1948, 0 were wearing life jackets.
It’s a fact – life jackets do save lives! But they are only effective if worn properly. This means:
- The right size! A life jacket is too big if it can easily ride up when you lift your hands over your head. It’s too small if the inside label specifies a weight limit that you exceed.
- Appropriate for the activity! Different life jackets are made for different activities. Be sure to check the inside label to determine what activity a lifejacket is made to handle. For example, not all life jackets are appropriate for use on a personal watercraft or for skiing.
- In good condition! Using a life jacket as a seat cushion on the boat is one sure way to reduce the life jacket’s buoyancy. Life jackets need to be in serviceable condition, with no torn threads, holes, or flotation missing.
- Buckled & zipped! Wearing a life jacket haphazardly isn’t going to be nearly as effective in saving a life as one that’s worn in the manner it was intended. If a life jacket isn’t secured around the body, it could come off when you hit the water.
Knowing how to help yourself stay safe is an important step when heading out to a lake, pool, or other body of water; but knowing how to help others is equally as important.
“Reach, Row, Throw, Don’t Go!” is a mnemonic tool to remember when dealing with a potential drowning situation. While each word has a specific meaning, the basic message is to encourage a rescuer to find any means of helping a person besides going in after the victim him or herself.
People who feel that they are drowning have an increase in adrenalin which enables them to become extremely powerful. Their fear turns into panic which can take the well-intentioned rescuer into the water with them. Rescuers should instead stay on the bank or in the boat and reach a stick, a paddle, or anything else that could be grabbed onto by the drowning victim. Tossing a life ring or throw bag to someone in the water is also a life-saving option.
Life Jacket Loaner Program
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Center Hill Lake is helping keep kids and adults alike safe by participating in the Life Jacket Loaner Program. This program allows boaters and swimmers to borrow a child’s or adult life jacket for the day, at no charge!
If you don’t have enough properly-fitting life jackets on board or need a life jacket in a designated swimming area, simply stop by one of the life jacket loaner boards located at Floating Mill Campground, Floating Mill Day Use, Hurricane Bridge Day Use, or Ragland Bottom Day Use. When finished, simply return the jackets to the same location.