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Water Safety Committee Partnering Strategic Plan Banner

HQUSACE National Water Safety Program
Partnering Strategic Plan

  • Effective FY99


    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the nation's leading provider of water-based recreation. An estimated 350 million individuals visit one of our resource development projects at least once each year.

    The majority of our visitors engage in aquatic recreational pursuits such as swimming, boating, and fishing. As our nation's population increases, our visitation numbers will naturally increase. Unfortunately, accidents happen and some accidents result in the death of a visitor. Drowning is the nation's second leading cause of accidental death.

    Through the USACE Interpretive Services Outreach Program, our park rangers work to educate the public on boating and water safety. With Congress struggling to balance the Federal budget, we strive to educate the public in the most efficient and effective manner. Forming partnerships with the public and business community to assist us in our boating and water safety educational activities is a way we can enhance our efforts. This marketing plan was developed to assist us in forming partnerships to accomplish our national boating and water safety-partnering mission.


    Our mission is to form partnerships to increase public awareness of boating and water safety and to reduce the number of water-related accidents and fatalities at USACE projects.


    To enhance the effectiveness of our safety public awareness campaign, it is best to identify what information is available on the demographics of aquatics facilities. This allows us to identify target markets where we should focus our boating and water safety educational efforts.


    • Age: Nationwide at USACE projects, the majority of aquatic fatalities involve 18- to 60-year-olds; and 39 percent are within the ages of 18-35.
    • Gender: USACE-wide, 88 percent are males. Nationally, it is estimated that men are four times more likely to drown than women.
    • Ability: Nationwide, it is estimated that two thirds of drowning victims are poor or non-swimmers.
    • Race: National figures estimate that blacks are twice as likely to die of drowning as whites.


      Nationwide, one seventh of all drownings are boating related. There is a growing concern for accidents related to the use of personal watercraft and non-motorized vessels.


      USACE-wide, 56 percent occur during June, July, and August; 50 percent occur on Saturday and Sunday and 47 percent between 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


      Most drownings are within 10 feet of safety or 50 feet from shore. USACE-wide, 47% of all public recreation fatalities occur in undesignated swimming areas and 19% are from falls from boats, docks, shoreline, etc.


      An estimated 60 percent of all drownings are witnessed. Most drownings tend to involve fully clothed, panicked, poor or non-swimmers, or good swimmers who have exceeded their swimming skills. Nationally, eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.


    • Impaired: Nationally, it is estimated that 50 percent of drowning victims have been drinking and one third may be legally intoxicated. USACE-wide, only 19 percent of drownings are known to be directly related to alcohol or drugs.
    • Life jackets: USACE-wide, 89 percent of victims were not wearing a life jacket.


    1. To increase public awareness of boating and water safety through educational materials and products.
    2. To increase effectiveness and minimize government costs for public awareness initiatives through partnering.
    3. To expand the distribution network of boating and water safety educational materials and products.


    The USACE has established a Water Safety Products Advisory Committee with representatives from each of the eight Divisions. This committee is responsible for water safety product development and distribution. Each Division representative will be responsible for making sure key personnel in their division are provided this marketing plan. These key individuals will then be able to provide this information to potential partners who will hopefully assist the USACE on the national level in accomplishing our mission. Key workers must keep division representatives apprised of their partnering initiatives in order for this committee to avoid duplication of efforts.

    A list of potential and existing partners that may be interested in assisting us in accomplishing our mission on the national level has been developed. It is our intention to focus our efforts on this list; however, it should not limit anyone's effort.

    Partnerships should concentrate on producing products or materials with boating or water safety messages while allowing non-USACE partners the opportunity to showcase their product or organization. Subsequent to the development of products and/or materials, distribution may be coordinated through the USACE Water Safety Product Catalog.


    1. Increase the number and value of boating safety partnerships.
    2. Decrease the number of accidents and fatalities.
    3. Increase the distribution of educational boating and water safety materials and products.
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