AUSTIN, Texas — Though it is only three years old, a Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department water and boater safety program reaches more than
10,000 children per year.

– Lake Mohave

Junior Boater was started for kids younger than age 12 in an effort
to reach those who are not old enough to be eligible for Boater Safety

“We wanted to make children aware that the water is great fun but
there are also dangers that kids need to watch out for and take
precautions against,” said Jack Dyess, TPWD’s statewide boater
education coordinator.

These precautions are taught by the program, which requires kids to
succeed at four of the following tasks to attain Junior Boater

  1. Throwing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) to a target.
  2. Completing
    a PFD relay, where kids are on teams and try to find a PFD that fits
    them best, fasten it on, and then tag their teammate who does the same.
  3. Identifying at least two items they should have when leaving shore.
  4. Identifying water-related items as safe or hazardous and why.
  5. Learning about weight distribution in a boat.
  6. Identifying water pollutants.
  7. Learning basic boating directions and terminology.
  8. Being able to recognize the intended movement of a watercraft based on signals.

TPWD is hoping that leadership-type groups that take the class, like
boy scouts, girl scouts and 4-H groups will fan out across Texas and
teach the course to others. TPWD loans out all supplies, including life
jackets and manuals with directions for instructors. All anyone has to
do is request a kit and specify a time and place.

“Children have the ears of their families and friends. This is a way
for us to reach a lot of people with basic safe water and boating
messages,” Dyess said.

For more information about how to set up a seminar, call (800) 792-1112, extension 4938.

– Lake Mohave