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Corps of Engineers issues lifejacket recommendation

Thursday, July 12, 2012   (0 Comments)
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In early May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ended its four year study of a potential lifejacket wear requirement for adults on all its lakes. The study looked into the feasibility of establishing a mandatory life jacket policy on Corps-managed waters. According to the policy study, wear rates at the test lakes significantly increased and fatalities decreased.

However, the study recommends that no additional regulation be added that would require life jackets be worn while recreating on all Corps-managed waters at this time. Current authority allows the District Commanders to set life jacket requirement policies. The study states many Corps areas are patrolled by other agency personnel and state authorities who would not necessarily be able to enforce Corps policy. Combined with staffing concerns in some Corps regions, this could result in inconsistent enforcement and greater confusion by the public. Ultimately, the study found that while life jacket policy can be an effective tool for increasing survival rates on Corps waters, the policy rapidly loses its value if not regularly and aggressively enforced.

Instead, it suggested that a "selective expansion” of policy should be considered in Districts where boating fatality rates run high, including field water safety education that focuses on the greatest at risk age/gender group.

MRAA strongly and aggressively opposes a mandatory adult life jacket wear policy.