Labor Day weekend is among the top three busiest weekends of the year at the region's lakes and rivers, and officials of the Army Corps of Engineers say they expect this year will be no exception. However, they warn visitors to practice good water safety habits to avoid accidents that could result in serious injury or death.
Corps park rangers caution that parks, lakes and rivers will be congested, and they ask visitors to be courteous while waiting at boat ramps, sharing beaches or traveling waterways.
Due to lower lake levels boaters should exercise extreme caution because submerged stumps and shallow areas will be more prominent.
The park rangers say they expect everyone to obey boating laws, and law enforcement officers will be on the lookout. In addition, the park rangers urge people to go a step further during the busy weekend. They also say wearing a life jacket at all times is the single most important step boaters can take to protect themselves.
To help visitors make the right choice to wear a life jacket, the Corps' Little Rock District is offering life jackets for temporary loan while you are visiting our parks in Arkansas and Missouri.
Visitors who arrive at a Corps lake this Labor Day weekend who forget to bring or who do not own a life jacket can check with the gate attendant or a volunteer camp host upon arrival.
The attendant may have a life jacket available for loan or may be able to direct the visitor to a nearby honor system loaner board.
The loaner program has limited quantities of life jackets for children and adults. Loaner life jackets helps ensure park visitors have the chance to enjoy water activities safely.
When swimming, remember these safety tips:
- Never go alone
- Never rely on toys such as inner tubes and water wings to stay afloat.
- Never dive into lakes and rivers. Don't forget that lakes and rivers are much bigger than swimming pools; don't overestimate your swimming skills. Swim only in designated swimming areas.
- If you have children on your family outing, remember it only takes a few seconds for a child to wander away, so watch your children at all times.
- Whether boating or swimming, don't drink alcohol if you plan to be in or on the water.