A life jacket may be the only difference between living and dying while boating, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Dark alleys look dangerous. Lakes and rivers often don’t. But looks can be deceiving. These inviting bodies of water can harbor many unseen dangers,” according to a news release.

“Victims of boating accidents have one thing in common – they intend to be in the boat, not the water. But in the blink of an eye, they unexpectedly fall or are thrown overboard. Without a life jacket, far too many drown,” according to the release.

According to the law, one life jacket must be on board for each occupant, but the law doesn’t require boaters to wear them, unless they are 12 years old and younger.

“Thus, many folks have a false sense of security with their life jacket under a seat or on the floor,” according to the release. “Boating accidents happen instantly. Boats can strike unseen obstacles and throw passengers out, or the waves can swamp or overturn a boat. If this happens and you’re not wearing a life jacket, it’s too late. You can’t get to one.”

Even if people are normally strong swimmers, they are likely to be stunned or injured and unable to swim if an incident occurs.

“Officials of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District urge everyone to wear life jackets when boating. Wearing a life jacket can help take the ‘dark alley’ out of boating,” according to the release.

Details: www.swl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Water-Safety/.