CARTHAGE, Tenn. (June 6, 2016) – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District park rangers attended a water safety refresher class for new, summer hire and permanent rangers from Cordell Hull, Center Hill, Old Hickory, Cheatham, Lake Cumberland, Laurel, and J. Percy lakes at the Cordell Hull resource manager’s office.
“Water safety training is important because it’s an opportunity for us to teach our rangers throughout the district about our water safety program and rangers educate the public on wearing their life jacket and the dangers of drinking and boating,” said Sarah Peace, Nashville District park ranger from Center Hill Lake and training instructor.
A group of 10 interns, summer hire and permanent park rangers spent the day in both classroom and outside they participated in water safety group exercises and practiced hands-on field exercises teaching the basics of water safety. In the classroom, they reviewed the Water Safety Program.
Mark Klimaszewski, Nashville District park ranger and natural resources specialist, coordinated with multiple rangers and instructors from area lakes to provide classes in boat patrol basics, water safety and group activities. The instruction included: boat patrol basics, understanding floatation devices, hypothermia, and the Water Safety Program.
Peace said during the year and particularly the summer months, park rangers use tools from their Water Safety Program to interact with the public and educated them on water safety. Routine boat patrols are run during the busy recreation season. Boaters are checked for safety equipment such as proper fitting life vests, cushions, horns, and lights.
She said throughout the year, park rangers attend various marine and RV trade shows to educate the boating public on water safety and impress upon them the importance of teaching their children to swim. Park rangers also educate children by presenting water safety demonstrations at public schools and by passing out water safety information at the swim beach.
“This is great to see our rangers get hands-on-training and most of all understand the importance our award winning national Water Safety Program while enjoying the participation,” said Peace.
During the school year, Dale Hollow park ranger Sondra Carmen teaches second graders from the Cane Creek elementary school who participate in the YMCA Learn-to-Swim Program at the Putnam County Family YMCA as part of the districts Water Safety Program. Carmen speaks about the importance of knowing how to swim and educates them about water safety and recreating in a safe environment.
“Our Water Safety Program works through education and I believe if we educate youths and teens early, they become better swimmers that have confidence and endurance," Carmen said.
In March, Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, Nashville District commander, presented park rangers from Cheatham Lake the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division 2015 Water Safety Award. The award recognized the park rangers for their work to spread the water safety message to people of diverse age groups and backgrounds.
Klimaszeski said to promote public safety, the park rangers maintain a presence on the lakes, and at recreation areas and campgrounds throughout the year they interact with the public in these areas during the recreation season.
"I really enjoy this job and one of the best things about is educating the public about water safety,” said Park Ranger Daniel Adams, a natural resource specialist from Center Hill Lake.
Nashville District park rangers have the ability to enforce federal boating regulations. They routinely engage the public recreating on Corps lakes to promote good water safety practices when boating and recreating.
“Training and educating our rangers about water safety is a primary mission of the overall visitor assistance program and helping to save lives,” said Peace. “It is key to provide the public the safest recreational environment possible especially during the summer when the public frequent our lakes most, our primary focus is to always keep them safe.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)