Over the last ten years, an average of nine Soldiers each year lost their lives while participating in water-related activities; 85% occurred off duty. Most of the fatalities occurred in natural waters and more than a third involved some sort of watercraft. While less than half of the reports received identified errors, those identified are insufficient planning, lack of situational awareness, and failure to use the required safety equipment. In a number of the cases alcohol was a factor.
It is critical that leaders continually reinforce the application of risk management. Soldiers must plan for contingencies and consider those when estimating their swimming ability.