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Water Safety Program - Learn to Swim Well

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the United States.

With nearly 12 million acres of land and water in its portfolio, the USACE is responsible for more than 11,400 miles of shoreline, 90 lakes and 1,495 recreation sites in its area of operation therefore it’s imperative that visitors “Learn to Swim Well” before using our facilities. 

Our mission is to consolidate and integrate existing water safety initiatives, promote an increase in water safety awareness, and to prevent drowning. We are dedicated to advancing, promoting, and providing water safety interpretation, outreach, and education.

The USACE Southwestern Division provides water-based recreational opportunities to the public and boasts the most visited recreational areas in the entire Corps with 81,549,270 visitors in fiscal year 2010 and 72,097,979 in FY11.  USACE Galveston District hosted more than 5.3 million visitors last year.

Though water safety remained a top priority for USACE, water-related deaths at SWD Corps recreational areas maintained a steady fatality rate averaging more than 50 deaths per year over the last five years, with 83 fatalities in 2011.

Learn more in Knowledge (the official safety magazine of the U.S. Army) about the Corps’ water safety program and see what USACE Galveston has planned throughout the year to support water safety.

Public Service Announcements

Simon radioUSACE Galveston District’s Colorado River Locks Lockmaster Simon DeSoto created eight radio public service announcements that were broadcast on radio stations along the Texas coast to an audience of more than 36,000 as part of the district's 2011 Water Safety Campaign. Listen to the PSAs.

These efforts greatly contributed to the USACE Galveston District being recognized with the Army's top community relations award for its Water Safety Campaign.

2015 Campaign Objectives

USACE Galveston District will continue to partner with local organizations and establish new relationships to:

•Promote and raise awareness of the importance of learning to swim and achieving water confidence.

•Increase knowledge and practical water safety skills.
•Raise awareness that organized, supervised water- based activity is fun and safe.
•Promote swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle and family activity.
•Provide the information in a fun and memorable way.
•Provide initiatives in both English and Spanish (when necessary).

Title 36 CFR Section 327

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' lake projects operate under Title 36 CFR Section 327 Rules and Regulations. The projects are administered by federal officials to ensure safety and protect the rights of all citizens enjoying recreational activities. Complete rules and regulations are posted at all projects. Under federal law, violators may be subjected to citation and /or required to appear before a federal magistrate. Persons may also be cited by state and local police for violations of state and local laws.

Video: Lost on the Lake

The USACE National Operations Center for Water Safety announced the release of a seven-minute testimonial water safety video that recounts the loss of a father and his son who were not wearing life jackets while boating. The video targets mature audiences and is available for viewing on the USACE Water Safety YouTube channel here.  The video can also be downloaded free from the Defense Video Imagery Distribution Site here. Click here for more water safety videos.


Upcoming Events

BOBBER the Water Safety Dog is the official mascot of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Safety Program. Together with our partners, the district works to encourage families and communities to stay safe in the water. 

May 15: Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day – Show how easy it is to wear a life jacket, even while at work!

May 16: "Ready, Set, Wear It!" Life jacket World Record Day - Participants in cities around the globe will gather to set a world record for the most life jackets worn and inflatable life jackets inflated on the 6th annual "Ready, Set, Wear It!" Life Jacket World Record Day. The goal is not only to promote the comfortable and versatile options when it comes to life jackets, but also to educate the public about safe boating. Register your local event at

May 16 – 22: National Safe Boating Week – Learn more about the National Safe Boating Council’s efforts to promote life jacket wear and safer boating during National Safe Boating Week and year-round at

Contact Kristine Brown at for more information about these events.