The Fourth of July is one of the busiest holiday weekends at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands and waters and visitors are encouraged to have fun, stay safe, and make it home alive.

The USACE hosts 370 million visits annually at its more than 400 lake and river projects where people enjoy fishing, boating, hiking and more. While outdoor recreation is fun and healthy, USACE urges our visitors to expect the unexpected and think about these four safety tips this Fourth of July.

Wear a life jacket.

Ÿ Statistics show that 90 percent of those who drown at USACE lakes and rivers may have survived if they had worn a life jacket.

Ÿ Drowning is the nation's second leading cause of accidental death.

Ÿ Expect the unexpected. Accidents happen, even to responsible boaters. A life jacket can provide time for rescue.

Know your swimming ability.

Ÿ Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool because a swimmer can tire more quickly and get into trouble.

Ÿ Conditions can change quickly in open water.

Ÿ Swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket. A life jacket will help conserve energy and provide flotation.

Be a "Water Watcher."

Ÿ When on or near the water watch your children.

Ÿ A child can drown in 20 seconds

Ÿ Drowning happens quickly and quietly. A drowning victim's head will be back, they will be gasping for air, they will not be yelling, and their arms will be slapping the water as though trying to climb out of the water.

Avoid exhaust fumes

around boats.

Ÿ Carbon monoxide, an invisible killer, can accumulate anywhere in or around boats regardless of what type of boat. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on and inside your boat. Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around your boat at all times.