US Army Corps of Engineers
Charleston District Website Website

Water Safety Information

Safety is the Charleston District's number one priority in everything we do. Being located in beautiful, coastal Charleston, South Carolina, much of our work involves being on the water. While the projects may change, one thing always remains- our personnel ALWAYS wear their life jackets.


Much of the community we serve also spends a lot of time in and on the water, between the lovely beaches and picturesque waterways. Here are a few points we would like you to remember when you and your family are around the water.


Life Jackets

  • Wearing a life jacket can save your life!
  • To ensure you survive unexpected slips or falls overboard wear your life jacket, because it buys you time to be rescued.
  • It only takes an adult an average of 60 seconds to drown and on average it takes 10 minutes for a strong swimmer to put on a life jacket after entering the water.
  • If you will not wear it for yourself then wear it for those who love you.
  • Ensure the life jacket is properly fitted to your body for it to work effectively. 
  • How to choose the right life jacket


  • Of the more than 150 Americans who drown every year at Corps parks, on average about 89 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
  • It only takes 60 seconds for an adult to drown and 20 seconds for a child to drown.
  • A common cause of drowning is the involuntary gasp reflex that occurs after falling into water. It takes less than 1/2 a cup of water in your lungs to drown.
  • Avoid drowning by wearing a life jacket, learning to swim well, and never swimming alone or under the influence of alcohol. 
  • If attempting to rescue someone, use the "Reach, Throw, Row, Go" method of reaching for them, throwing them a floating device, rowing to them, or going for help.

Boating Safety

  • Always ensure you boat is equipped with life jackets, a first aid kit, and rescue flares.
  • Check your boat for problems before each time you take it out on the water.
  • Ensure your boat gets regular maintenance.
  • Take a boating safety course to learn valuable safety tips. These are readily available, including at

Other Important Tips

  • Alcohol and water are a deadly combination. Alcohol reduces your coordination, judgment and reaction time. These can cause accidents to occur or cause you to drown if there is an accident.
  • Always watch your children. You may not expect your child to reach overboard on a boat, or wander into the ocean at the beach. Ensure you are not distracted by reading or talking on the phone.
  • Don't depend on floating or air-filled toys for safety, as they are not as strong and can float even further away from safety. 

Bobber the Water Safety Dog

  • Bobber the Water Safety Dog is the Charleston District's newest employee and focuses on getting children to wear their life jackets.
  • Bobber has been making appearances all over town spreading his water safety message to everyone he sees.
  • Make sure you visit to download fun videos, puzzles, games and more that will help you teach your children about wearing a life jacket.