Fall 2008 A publication of the Boater Education Program—Staying Afloat
Play It Safe!
Texas had 47 boating fatalities, 251 accidents reported, and 230 Boating While Intoxicated arrests in 2006. We had 52 boating fatalities, 260 accidents reported, and 190 BWI’s in 2007. Most of those tragedies were preventable, since on average 85 percent of boating fatality drowning victims who drowned were not wearing a life jacket when recovered.
With those sobering facts in mind, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners launched a fresh public education and water safety initiative in 2007, and continued that effort in 2008. The new approach enlists country music star Kevin Fowler, who’s come on board to help connect with a key target audience.
“Nobody’s Waterproof™” is a fun, interactive social marketing campaign targeting 18-to-34-year-old boaters, especially young men, whom statistics show are most at risk. It is sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and numerous local and statewide partners. The campaign was developed in 2006 by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and EnviroMedia Social Marketing, Inc. and has won state, regional and national awards. TPWD has expanded the initiative outside the Colorado River watershed to other Texas metropolitan areas.
“Texas Parks and Wildlife sees this as a chance to really take the message to the people on the water, with fun activities and educational items that will continue to remind boaters and swimmers that ‘Nobody’s Waterproof — Play it Safe,’” said Brandi Bradford, TPWD Boater Education Coordinator. “We took a wonderful new education program on Texas waters this summer — including a great boat with a fun, engaging outreach team, who handed out safety items and information at some of the most well-known locations around the state. Look for us on the water and shoreline at a lake, river, or bay near you!”
The “Nobody’s Waterproof” outreach boat, donated to TPWD by the Britteny Sage Lindt Fund, spent time on Canyon Lake, Lake Travis, Lake Conroe, Lake Lewisville, Possum Kingdom Lake, Clear Lake, and the Guadalupe River for special events this year. In 2007, the Nobody’s Waterproof team reached almost 5000 boaters on Texas waters, and over 6000 boaters and water enthusiasts in 2008. We also reached an estimated 2 million people with television and radio public safety announcements since the statewide program began.
Nobody’s Waterproof outreach events emphasize these safety messages:
- Always wear a life jacket in the water and on a boat.
- Designate a driver for the boat and a safe ride home. Alcohol and water don’t mix.
- Take a boater education course, either online or in person.
- Always swim with a friend and ask friends and family to watch each other.
- Follow boating and water safety rules and obey signs, markers and buoys.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated — especially if you are also drink¬ing alcohol.
- Have a VHF-FM marine radio or cell phone, GPS or map, proper safety equipment, and appropriate clothing on board or with you on the water.
- Know where you are on the water or shoreline.
“If boaters remember nothing else while they’re playing on Texas waters this summer, we hope they’ll remember “’Nobody’s Waterproof — Play it Safe!’” Bradford said. “Wear a lifejacket — they even come in smaller, inflatable models that won’t ruin your tan or be hot and uncomfortable. We don’t recommend it, but if you’re going to drink, do so responsibly and designate a driver for your boat and the ride home, and always pay attention to the people in your party.”
In keeping with the “Nobody’s Waterproof” theme targeting the younger, fun crowd, country rocker Kevin Fowler has come on board as a celebrity spokesperson for the expanding statewide initiative. An avid hunter, angler and outdoorsman born in Amarillo, Fowler was “fed a steady diet of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and all the outlaws of country music.” Known for songs about rowdy good times, Fowler is encouraging his fans via radio public service announcements and other venues to come home safe from a day on the water.
“Like lots of 100 percent Texans, I love having a good time on the water!” Fowler says in the radio PSA. “But remember, ‘Nobody’s Waterproof.’ Play it safe, wear a life jacket and designate a driver for the boat and for a safe ride home. Follow these tips and there’ll be a lot more days for you to play in this great state of Texas.”
In addition to the campaign, TPWD game wardens beefed up enforcement of boating laws and provided proactive safety guidance, working with lake rangers, sheriff’s deputies, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, regional water safety coalitions, and many other local boating enforcement agencies and public interest groups.
The Nobody’s Waterproof partners will be seen at boat shows and outreach events for the boating public throughout the year. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign, participate in outreach activities, or volunteer to help get the word out about boating safety at one of these outreach events, please see the TPWD online calendar for upcoming events near you at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/calendar/, click on Events and Activities, and look for Water Recreation Activities near you! You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-792-1112 to ask about the Nobody’s Waterproof Campaign.