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Students paint Colorado River Locks to send safety message

Published April 11, 2014

GALVESTON, Texas (April 11, 2014) –Bay City High School art students and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District partnered to paint three-feet high murals at four locations along the Corps-operated Colorado River Locks, to combat water-related fatalities at Corps’ owned and operated facilities.

Art teachers Mico Murphy and Sharon Landgrebe spent four weeks teaching students how to re-create the “Wear It” logo, a National Safe Boating Campaign slogan, to place on the walls of the locks.

Murphy explains that it wasn’t difficult to convince his class to participate.

“This is a wonderful project to be connected with, given the importance of ‘Wear It’ (campaign),” said Murphy. “It's the ‘click it’ of water safety. When Mr. Simon Desoto (Colorado River Locks lock master) and Mr. Christopher Townsend (the interim principal of Bay City High School) approached me about having the students do this project, I had to say yes. Plus it's something that in years to come, while the students are out boating and wearing it, they can point out to family and friends and tell them that they had a hand to doing it.”

DeSoto couldn’t agree more.

“The students have taken the project on to support the local community and assist the Galveston District in their 2014 Water Safety Campaign to Learn to Swim Well,” said Lock Master Simon DeSoto, Colorado River Locks. “The $400 project was fully funded by the district and the students volunteered their time to create the artwork.”

Students completed the art design templates in the classroom then transferred the paintings onto the walls of the locks.

“Mariners traversing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway will be able to see and read the logo,” said DeSoto. “It will serve as a constant reminder to be safe on the water and to always wear their personal flotation devices while recreating on the water.”

According to DeSoto, students were eager to help share the district’s water safety messages of learning to swim well, being water aware and wearing a lifejacket while recreating on the water.

“The students learned about the importance of water safety,” said DeSoto. “They certainly helped us spread the word about the promoting the importance of learning to swim and wearing lifejackets. Our combined efforts will hopefully help to reduce public fatalities and educate those who use our facilities.”

The USACE Galveston District continues to partner with local organizations to assist in promoting public safety and educating parents and children about the importance of learning to swim.Learn about the district’s Water Safety Program at For news and information, visit Find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter,

Release no. 14-017