Thurmond Lake, Georgia – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages three lakes on the Savannah River and since the beginning of the summer they have seen an increase in drownings.
“This year we’ve had more than normal recreation fatalities, 7 total,” said Aaron Wahus Park Operations Manager.
In May 2015 alone two people drowned because they were not wearing life jackets. Wahus says all of the drowning’s this summer have been men between the ages of 20 and 60.
“Several drowning’s this summer and they were in that category. Had they had a PFD on it might have been prevented,” said Park Ranger Bob Timmerman.
A new PSA filmed Wednesday is targeted at this audience to create awareness, with the support of Miss South Carolina, Miss Southeast, and Miss Georgia Southern.
“When you’re not wearing a life jacket and you’re just out there treading water you get tired. If the temperature is really cold your body gets tired quickly. If you consume alcohol you’re impaired really bad so whenever you wear a life jacket that can keep you at least a float so someone can at least come get you if can’t do it yourself,” Catherine Fox, Miss Southeast 2015 said.
The Corps of Engineers says water and alcohol don’t mix and it’s important that people stay safe when enjoying a day at the lake.
“Wear your life jacket. When you’re on the boat if you’re not going to wear your life jacket at least have it out from the compartment. So at least if you did have an emergency you could get to it quickly,” Wahus told News Channel 6.
But it’s not just those watching the PSA who will learn more about water safety.
“It actually made me more aware. I didn’t really know how dangerous it was. My dad’s always taught me to wear a life jacket or at least have a life jacket on board but I never really understood how important a life jacket is to save a life,” said Fox.