Life Jacket Policy Study
On June 6, 2007 MG Don Riley, Director of Civil Works directed the Operations and Safety Offices to conduct a Corps-wide study on the feasibility of establishing a mandatory life jacket wear requirement for visitors recreation on Corps-administered waters, including leased areas (CECW-ON memorandum, dated 6 June 2007). The study, led by the HQUSACE National Operation Center for Water Safety, was conducted in-house by a product delivery team (PDT) comprised of a variety of recreation and safety managers from Corps headquarters, division, district and lake staffs. The PDT used data collected from a district questionnaire, an employee survey on the Corps NRM Gateway web site, interagency discussions and written comments, fatality and accident report statistics, general comments from field leadership, and self-analysis of current national educational materials and programming, to determine their recommendations for MG Riley.
On 28 February 2008, the PDT briefed MG Riley with their findings. Based on information gathered from our district and field offices as well as U.S. Coast Guard, state agencies and other non-Corps partners, the PDT’s recommendation was to not change Title 36 to establish a regulation requiring life jacket wear on Corps waters at this time. The PDT recommended that the Corps continue to support U.S. Coast Guard's life jacket wear initiatives and to aggressively pursue voluntary wear of life jackets through targeted public education actions, life jacket loaner programs and increased partnerships. MG Riley decided to defer his decision on establishing a policy until additional information can be gathered. Specifically, he requested that the PDT identify districts willing to conduct a 3-5 year field test exercise in which the life jacket wear requirement is applied and monitored for effectiveness. CECW-CO-N memorandum, dated 1 May 2008 requested participants for this second phase of this study.
There are two Corps districts involved in the second phase field test of the life jacket mandate study from 2009 through 2011. They include Vicksburg District on the waters of Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada lakes in North Mississippi. Also, Pittsburgh District will be monitoring data from the mandatory life jacket wear requirement implemented with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on Pittsburgh District lakes in the early 1990's.
On 2 May 2012, MG Michael Walsh requested MSC Commanders to consider selectively expanding life jacket mandatory-wear policy at locations within their divisions (CECW-CO-N memorandum, dated 2 May 2012). In implementing life jacket policy, consideration should be based on statistical analysis revealing high boating fatality rates at the selected districts’ field projects.
- Life Jacket Policy Study
- Strategic Plan for Reducing Fatalities – Encl to CECW-CO-N memorandum, dated 2 May 2012
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