A girl kayaking on Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.

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Recreation / Water Safety

Published Jan. 17, 2024
Updated: Jan. 17, 2024
Beautiful sights of Shenango River Lake.

Shenango River Lake is one of 16 flood-control projects operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. The project mitigates flooding in the Shenango River Valley as well as the Beaver and upper Ohio rivers. Since its completion in 1965, Shenango Dam has prevented more than $252 million in flood damages. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

Recreation

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the nation's leading federal providers of outdoor recreation with more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. Visitors of all ages can enjoy traditional activities like hiking, boating, fishing, camping and hunting, and for those slightly more adventurous there is snorkeling, windsurfing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and geo-caching.  Regardless of your favorite outdoor activity one thing is certain, recreation enriches people's lives.  A visit to an Army Corps of Engineers' recreation area can strengthen family ties and friendships; create unforgettable memories and connect people to nature that will last a lifetime.

With 90 percent of our recreation areas located within 50 miles of a major metropolitan center, there is a Corps site near you. We invite you to visit us!

Reservations for all USACE operated sites are available through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at their web site www.recreation.gov or by calling toll-free at: 1-877-444-6777.

Annual Day Use Pass

Beginning Jan.1, 2016 the recreation day use fees charged for boat launches & swimming beaches managed by USACE changed to a simpler fee structure. The fee for a USACE annual pass to these facilities also changed.

The day use fee schedule is as follows:

* Minimum day use fee of $5.00 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle.

* Minimum day use fee of $2.00 per adult for walk-in or bike-in.

* Minimum day use fee of $20.00 will be charged per bus or commercial vehicle.

* Children under the age of 16 are not charged a day use fee. 

Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a USACE-operated recreation area that day.

A USACE annual day use pass may be purchased for $40, which permits the holder & accompanying passengers the daily use of facilities managed by USACE for one calendar year. No duplicate passes will be sold but a person may purchase more than one Annual Pass at full price if desired.

Water Safety

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes your interest in water safety. We want to encourage visitors to our recreational facilities and lakes to use caution while boating, fishing, or swimming. Watch Your Children! Each year about 200 children drown in the U.S. and several thousand others are treated in hospitals for submersion accidents, accidents which leave children with permanent brain damage and respiratory health problems. Remember, it only takes a few seconds for a small child to wander away and as little as eight seconds for a child to drown. Children have a natural curiosity and attraction to water. Watch your children at all times when in and around the water and ensure that everyone wears a proper-fitting life jacket. The information on this page and its links will offer essential information that will help you, your family, and friends have a safe, enjoyable recreational experience at our projects.

Water Safety Near Dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to bring attention to the dangers present in the tail water of dams.  It is mandatory at all lakes, everyone in a boat, no matter their age, must properly wear a life jacket if they are located in the discharge of a dam.  Other guidelines to follow to increase water safety is to not anchor to the dam, be aware of the generation schedule, realize the generation schedule is subject to change at any given time. With the efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as everyone in the public we can work together to make boating a more safe and enjoyable experience!

If recreating at Laurel River Lake, keep well away from the Corbin City Dam.  Water flowing over the dam can create a current not readily seen on the surface but is capable of drawing boats into the face of the dam and holding them underwater.

Water Safety Tips

Knowing how to help yourself stay safe is an important step when heading out to a lake, pool, or other body of water; but knowing how to help others is equally as important. “Reach, Row, Throw, Don’t Go!” is a mnemonic tool to remember when dealing with a potential drowning situation. While each word has a specific meaning, the basic message is to encourage a rescuer to find any means of helping a person besides going in after the victim him or herself.

People who feel that they are drowning have an increase in adrenalin which enables them to become extremely powerful. Their fear turns into panic which can take the well-intentioned rescuer into the water with them. Rescuers should instead stay on the bank or in the boat and reach a stick, a paddle, or anything else that could be grabbed onto by the drowning victim. Tossing a life ring or throw bag to someone in the water is also a life-saving option.

Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well Never leave a young child unattended near water Read and obey all rules and posted signs Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies
Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone Maintain constant supervision of children Swim only in areas designated for swimming Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
Set water safety rules for the whole family Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim or if you are just learning to swim Never dive or jump into waters Always wear a life jacket while riding on a boat Know your state’s laws governing boating and fishing

 

Hypothermia-The Killer of the Unprepared
Boating in cold weather can be exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk of falling into dangerously cold waters. Even boating in warm weather can be dangerous if the water is much colder than the air. As a general rule, if your air and water temperatures added together equal less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should take the following steps:

Dress appropriately for the weather and other conditions. This includes layering your clothing and wearing a hat and neck cover to prevent unnecessary heat loss. Drink plenty of fluids and hot drinks (but not alcohol), and stay nourished with high energy food bars. Bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag if you are going to be in or around water.

Wear a life jacket while you are on the water. Studies have shown that a combination of using the Heat Exchange Lessening Posture (H.E.L.P.) and a life jacket can increase a person’s survival rate considerably. Life jackets allow persons to keep still and adopt H.E.L.P. without being compelled to tread water or swim to stay afloat, which can reduce the survival time by 50%.

Hypothermia is called the killer of the unprepared. That is why it’s important you take the proper steps to reduce your risk the next time you plan on being in or around water.

Life Jacket Tips

Practicing water safety is a must when visiting Nashville District’s recreation areas.  Nearly all drowning fatalities at our lakes could have been prevented by wearing life jacket. It’s a fact – life jackets do save lives! But they are only effective if worn properly. This means:

Wear the right size!   A life jacket is too big if it can easily ride up when you lift your hands over your head. It’s too small if the inside label specifies a weight limit that you exceed.

Appropriate for the activity!   Different life jackets are made for different activities. Be sure to check the inside label to determine what activity a lifejacket is made to handle. For example, not all life jackets are appropriate for use on a personal watercraft or for skiing.

Keep life jackets in good condition!   Using a life jacket as a seat cushion on the boat is one sure way to reduce the life jacket’s buoyancy. Life jackets need to be in serviceable condition, with no torn threads, holes, or flotation missing.

Keep it buckled & zipped!   Wearing a life jacket haphazardly isn’t going to be nearly as effective in saving a life as one that’s worn in the manner it was intended. If a life jacket isn’t secured around the body, it could come off when you hit the water. 

Life Jacket Loaner Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping keep kids and adults alike safe by participating in the Life Jacket Loaner Program. This program allows boaters and swimmers to borrow a child’s or adult life jacket for the day, at no charge! This program is made possible by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

Here’s how the Life Jacket Loaner Program works. If you don’t have enough properly fitting children’s life jackets on board, simply visit the registration centers at our recreation areas and sign for a loaner infant, child, or youth jacket for the day or the weekend. When finished boating for the day, return the jackets to the same location. Don’t worry adults, we have life jackets for your size too!

Boating Safety

Good boaters know the formula for staying safe on the water includes being aware of your surroundings, having good training in safe vessel operation, and knowing the local rules of the road.  The US Army Corps of Engineers along with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency encourage all boaters to take a boating safety course. 

Boat US Foundation provides a free, online boating safety training course, approved by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, specifically tailored to the rules and regulations in the state of Kentucky.  The course is interactive and will provide you with a Kentucky Boating Safety Certificate at the end of successful completion.  Please note that this course DOES NOT satisfy boater education requirements for students under the age of 18.  To access the free course, click on the Boat US Foundation link below.

Reduce the Risk of Drowning Video

Life Jacket Safety Video

(News Report) Investigators: Drowning is Silent

This story is from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul. It is important to watch this to have a greater understanding of how drowning is a silent event, and the importance of keeping an eye on people in the water and knowing the signs of drowning. This is a must watch!

Water Safety Resources

Fun Stuff for Kids


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  • January

    Berlin Lake

    Take time out to enjoy the ever-changing pattern of life and scenery that await you at Berlin Lake. Located near Akron, Youngstown, and Warren, Ohio the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to trade the sights and sounds of the city for those of the Ohio countryside.
  • Conemaugh River Lake

    An abundance of cultural resources and recreational opportunities coupled with a great river revival and trail has certainly made Conemaugh River Lake the place to be for outdoor fun!
  • Crooked Creek Lake

    Nestled among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, Crooked Creek Lake is an ideal setting for year-round outdoor activities. Located only 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to discover the scenic beauty of the lake and surrounding countryside. Visitors will find they can pursue a variety of outdoor activities at the lake with its numerous, well-maintained facilities available for enjoyment. For those who enjoy the outdoors, a visit to Crooked Creek Lake can be a rewarding experience. 
  • East Branch Clarion River Lake

    In the heart of Elk County and scenic upper Clarion River Valley, the US Army Corps of Engineers invites you to visit and enjoy the ideal setting for a variety of recreational experiences. East Branch Lake is surrounded by Elk State Park, Elk State Forest and State Game Lands to further enhance the idyllic setting of your visit.
  • Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir

    Totally surrounded by forest, Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir are at the heart of one of the largest and most popular outdoor recreation complexes in the northeastern United States. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to visit the reservoir and discover a diversity of year-round recreational opportunities that will delight the outdoor enthusiast.
  • Loyalhanna Lake

    Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, among terrain characterized by its diversity, Loyalhanna Lake provides a mixture of scenery and recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District invites you to visit the Loyalhanna project and enjoy its natural settings.
  • Mahoning Creek Lake

    Situated among steep-sided valleys and forested hillsides, Mahoning Creek Lake is surrounded by the rugged and striking terrain of western Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to discover Mahoning’s breathtaking scenery and its opportunities for outdoor recreation.
  • Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir

    Surrounded by the lush, green farmland of northern Ohio, the Michael J. Kirwan Dam provides miles of clean waters and scenic countryside for your enjoyment.
  • Mosquito Creek Lake

    Amidst the panorama of rural countryside and the suburban settings of northeastern Ohio lies Mosquito Creek Lake. Mosquito Creek Lake is one of the most popular sites for outdoor recreation in the area, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to come and discover the wide range of recreational opportunities available for your enjoyment at the lake.
  • Shenango River Lake

    The scenic Shenango Recreation Area campground has 330 sites available, many of which are equipped with electric hookup. Showers, restrooms, playgrounds and dump stations are provided. Campers visiting the lake will enjoy the spacious facilities and ease of access to the lake, as well as opportunities to enjoy watching the birds and other wildlife that live there.
Chick Lock

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