Fun, food, fishing, the chance to get a free life jacket for children and break a world record will be served up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20 at the Brazos River Authority’s Lake Granbury Rough Creek Park during the 2nd Annual Water Safety Awareness Day.
In 2016, a total of 144 free life jackets were given away by the Brazos River Authority, and they will be distributed again at this year’s event while supplies last. In 2016, a worldwide effort to break the record for the number of people wearing a life jacket fell short. This year’s event will again join the National Safe Boating Council’s “Ready, Set, Wear It” efforts to break that world record.
“Water safety is always the highest priority here at Lake Granbury, especially for our children,” said Connie Tucker, the BRA’s area project manager for Lake Granbury. “Drowning is a tragedy that can be prevented simply by wearing the correct type of life jacket.” She said the BRA is happy to host the event and to give away life jackets to children who need them.
The idea for the water safety awareness event came about when office staff at Lake Granbury were talking about ways to generate a positive response to safety requirements.
“We hand out citations for children not wearing life jackets on the water, but we’ve never had any kind of positive or proactive program to get the kids in life jackets,” Tucker said. “So we thought, ‘What better way than to hand out free life jackets for kids and provide some safety education at the same time?’”
Tucker and Lake Ranger Kyle Lewis said they appreciated the response from the community for the first water safety awareness day, and hope for even more participation this year.
“It was great seeing various groups from the community come out and support water safety for our kids,” Tucker said.
“The satisfaction of knowing we helped 140-plus kids get new life jackets to wear before summer started was a great feeling,” Lewis said. “We had an estimated 250 people attend in 2016. With positive feedback from last year’s event and the addition of radio advertising, we expect that number to greatly increase.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Kid Fish program will provide fishing poles and instruction for children, a popular event that offers a hands-on opportunity for youngsters to either fish for the first time or to practice their skills.
“This year we have members of the Granbury High School Bass Club helping with Kid Fish,” Lewis said. “No better way for a younger kid to be mentored than by an older kid with the same interest. Also new this year, members of a local Boy Scout troop will be conducting the “Ready, Set, Wear It Life Jacket World Challenge at the event. Another big boost to this year’s event is a live broadcast by local radio station 95.3 KOME.”
Employees of the radio station will speak with members of participating organizations to see what efforts they are involved in to promote water safety.
Lewis said there are some important things people should keep in mind whenever they are around water.
“Always watch your children around the water, whether it’s at a lake or around a pool,” he said. “Don’t let yourself get distracted by your cell phone, a good book or visiting with others. Drowning is silent and can happen very quickly no matter how well you think you or your children can swim. Always have children wear a life jacket around water. You never know what hazards may exist below the surface.
“The same precautions apply for a boat or (personal watercraft). Texas law says children 12 and under must wear a life jacket if riding in a boat. Adults should wear one as well to stay safe and set a good example for their little passengers. State law also says anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear a life jacket.”
Finally, adults must take extra precautions regarding alcohol, Lewis said. “If you choose to consume any alcoholic beverage while boating, have a designated driver. Don’t take the risk of getting yourself or someone else hurt.”
Tucker and Lewis said they are excited about the additions to this year’s water safety awareness day. There will be new groups and returning ones to talk about the importance of water safety with both children and parents.
Some of the organizations that will be participating include:
- Texas EMS
- Local law enforcement and fire rescue groups
- Safe Kids Coalition
- Lake Granbury Medical Center
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Creations Child Care & Learning Center
- The Swim Lesson People
- TEXSAR Search and Rescue
- Marksmen Firearms & Outdoors
- Stumpy’s/Lake Granbury Marina
- Boy Scouts of America Troop 360, Granbury
- Granbury High School Bass Fishing Club
- Alluring Pools & Outdoors
Free hot dogs and water will be available at the event while supplies last. For more information about the water safety awareness day, call the Lake Granbury project office at 817-573-3212.