Water Safety

Staff at Old Hickory Lake particpate in several water safety programs throughout the recreation season (USACE photo by John Baird)

Your Safety is Our Priority

The Old Hickorky Lake Park Ranger staff is dedicated to sharing the water safety message with our visitors and surrounding communities. Help us eliminate unnecessary drownings by wearing your life jacket when boating, swimming or recreating in and around the water.

Life Jackets Float - You Don't

Did you know that approximately 700 people each year drown nationwide from recreational boating accidents? That is why it is imperative to wear a life jacket at all times while in and around the water. Much like a helmet to a cyclist, life jackets are an essential part of boating safety equipment and should be worn at all times.

Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests that are commonly associated with on-the-water safety gear. With new innovations and developments, modern life jackets are now available in various styles that are cooler, sleeker, and much more comfortable without the loss of buoyancy.

Quickly becoming the life jacket of choice by many boaters, inflatable life jackets can be purchased as "suspender" or "belt pack" auto or manual inflatable. The learn more about the different types and how to properly maintain and service inflatable life jackets, click on the hyperlink below.


Life Jacket Loaner Board at Cedar Creek Recreation AreaLife Jacket Loaner Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Old Hickory Lake is helping keep kids safe by participating in the National 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!

Here’s how the Life Jacket Loaner Program works. 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 Old Hickory Beach, Cedar Creek Recreation Area, Laguardo or Lock 3 Recreation Area. When finished, simply return the jackets to the same location.


Water Safety Tips

      Learn to swim

      Always swim with a buddy

      Swim in designated areas

      Don’t rely on beach toys; they are not designed to save lives

      Never dive or jump into unknown waters

      Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim or if you are just learning to swim.

      Know your boat; each boat has its own purpose. Make sure you use your boat properly

      Always wear a life jacket while riding on a boat

      Don’t go on the boat if the operator has been drinking alcohol: Booze and boats just don’t mix!

      Ride a Personal Watercraft only with an experienced adult driver

      Don’t stand while a small boat is moving

      Don’t sit on the gunwales or bow of a moving boat

      Know your state’s laws governing boating and fishing

Hypothermia-The Killer of the Unprepared

Boating in cold weather can be exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk of falling into dangerously cold waters. Even boating in warm weather can be dangerous if the water is much colder than the air. As a general rule, if your air and water temperatures added together equal less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should take the following steps:

Dress appropriately for the weather and other conditions. This includes layering your clothing and wearing a hat and neck cover to prevent unnecessary heat loss.

Drink plenty of fluids and hot drinks (but not alcohol), and stay nourished with high energy food bars.

Bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag if you are going to be in or around water.

Wear a life jacket while you are on the water. Studies have shown that a combination of using the Heat Exchange Lessening Posture (H.E.L.P.) and a life jacket can increase a person’s survival rate considerably. Life jackets allow persons to keep still and adopt H.E.L.P. without being compelled to tread water or swim to stay afloat, which can reduce the survival time by 50%.

Hypothermia is called the killer of the unprepared. That is why it’s important you take the proper steps to reduce your risk the next time you plan on being in or around water.

(News Report) Investigators: Drowning is Silent

This story is from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul. It is important to watch this to have a greater understanding of how drowning is a silent event, and the importance of keeping an eye on people in the water and knowing the signs of drowning. This is a must watch!