BAY CITY, Texas (Aug. 5, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, together with Bay City High School Art Teacher Sharon Landgrebe and her students, coordinated a project to create signs to alert the public about the need to wear life jackets when they are in, on or around water.
The signs are located in Matagorda, Texas, to warn the public that they are entering a “Life Jacket Zone.”
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the United States,” said Simon DeSoto, USACE Galveston District lockmaster at the Colorado River Locks. “Our mission is to consolidate and integrate existing water safety initiatives, promote an increase in water safety awareness and to prevent drowning. We are dedicated to advancing, promoting, and providing water safety interpretation, outreach, and education.”
According to DeSoto, one of the signs is positioned on State Highway 60 as motorists enter the coastal community of Matagorda, Texas. This sign is seen by approximately 800,000 people annually.
Additionally, a sign has been installed on the bypass channel from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway into the lower Colorado River channel feeding into the Gulf of Mexico. This sign is seen by every boater making their way to the gulf. Approximately 30,000 boaters annually will see this sign.
"Mariners traversing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway will be able to see and read the logo signs," 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."
Desoto explained that the Matagorda County, Texas, area is the only county in a six-county region of Houston without a drowning in the past two years. With this partnership continuing to grow, the USACE Galveston District anticipates that the influences the students are making should continue to see positive impacts for years to come.
“The students are the second group from Bay City High School to partner with the USACE Galveston District to promote water safety messages to the public,” said DeSoto. “The previous year, art students created signs at the entrances to the Colorado River Locks that warn boaters to "Wear It," a National Safe Boating Campaign message to remind the public to wear lifejackets.”
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 project was fully funded by the district and the students volunteered their time to create the artwork.
"My art student's really enjoyed working on the signs," said Landgrebe. "Projects such as this one help the students learn the value of helping to make our communities better and we were excited that we were given this opportunity."
DeSoto noted the students learned about the importance of water safety.
"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," said DeSoto.
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 http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/CorpsintheClassroom/WaterSafetyProgram.aspx. For news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.