Fort Worth District
Lakes and Recreation Menu


Water Safety

Top Excuses Not to Wear a Life Jacket A message from the Safe Boating Campaign . You can still have fun on the water while wearing a life jacket and boating responsibly. Here are the top 5 excuses not to wear a life jacket we hear from boaters.

  1. “I have life jackets on board.”
    Having life jackets on board the vessel is not enough. Accidents happen too fast to put on a stowed life jacket.
  2. “I’m a strong swimmer.”
    Even a strong swimmer needs to wear a life jacket. During an emergency, clothing can become heavy or waterlogged while in the water.
  3. “It’s too hot.”
    Old-fashioned, bulky orange life jackets have been replaced with new styles, like inflatable life jackets that may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. These are much cooler in the warmer weather.
  4. “It gets in the way.”
    There are life jacket styles for every body type and for any recreational water activity – fishing, water sports, hunting, paddling and more. There are even styles and designs for pets!
  5. “Nothing is going to happen to me.”
    Face it, accidents happen. Boating can be a fun, safe and enjoyable activity, but when the “Wear It!” message is ignored, the consequences can be grim.
  6. “I can't show off my 6 pack.”
    Your abdoniminal muscles can't save you from drowning. A single properly fitted life jacket can.
  7. Another way to look at it is: Do you prefer to go home and brag about the great day you had on the water, or to go to the morgue in a body bag and the only person that sees your abs is the mortician?
  8. “They don’t look cool.”
    Old-fashioned, bulky orange life jackets have been replaced with new styles that have various designs and colors to meet everyones personality. There are inflatable life jackets that are slim and stylish or come in a special belt pack. You can use any style available that compliments your natural good looks.
  9. “I will put it on later when I need it.”
    Later is too late. When accidents and emergencies happen, it is too late to put on a life jacket. You can't undo an accident, and you can not undo a drowning. You can prevent a drowning. Wear the life life jacket and you won't have to worry about later, because you will be prepared.

Excuses Don't Save Lives, Life Jackets Do!

Drop The Excuse, Wear the Jacket!

Drowning Prevention

All too often people drown and they could of been saved by someone less than 50 feet away from them. We have been programmed as a society to believe that someone is drowning when they are screaming, kicking and waving their arms in the water. This is NOT true. That is how television portrays drowning for dramatic affect.

True drowning looks calm compared to television images. A great article by a professional that has many years of experience in recognizing and saving drowning victims is at the link below. We urge all parents, youth and families to review the material. It may save your life or your childs life one day if your family can recognize the signs and act to come to your assistance.

Here are the signs of drowning from the article.

  • Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  • Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  • Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  • Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  • From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
  • Young kids tend to look like they are trying to do a ‘dog paddle’ swim

Here are a few more links to sites with similar articles on recognizing drowning.

8 Quiet Signs of Someone Drowning

Wikipedia: Drowning

Most Adults Don't Recognize a Drowning Child

Drowning Re-enactment video for Educational Purposes

Water Safety Videos and PSAs

These videos are for public viewing and usage for educational purposes. Please use discretion when viewing the 'Youth and Adult' videos. They are very serious and emotionally driven topics that many children and adults may not understand or be able to emotionally handle.

Video Description Audience
Link takes you to site with 5 Cartoons. All ages
Recognizing Drowning Flash animation video about life jackets. All ages
Drowning signs aren't like the movies News clip on drowning and what it looks like. All ages
What Does An Actual Drowning Look Like And How Do We Help? Trained EMT doing training on recognizing drowning Youth and adult
What Does Drowning Look Like? Digital cartoon character showing drowning. Not realistic, but gives the basic ideas behind the topic. All ages
What Does A Real Drowning Victim Look Like?

Video by Fox news. Shows footage of actor in a 'drowning' situation.

**May be hard for young kids to watch if they don't understand it is acting.**

All ages
Life Vest Math A short video on the mathematics of water recreation. All ages
How 2 wear Type 2 floatation device Short video on proper usage of Type 2 floatation device All ages
How 3 wear Type 2 floatation device Short video on proper usage of Type 3 floatation device All ages
How 5 wear Type 2 floatation device Short video on proper usage of Type 5 floatation device All ages
PSA on Water safety: Chad Henning PSA on life vests and water safety All ages
PSA on Water safety: Neil Walker PSA on life vests and water safety All ages
Forever 15: PSA 1 PSA for Forever 15. All ages
Forever 15: PSA 2 PSA for Forever 15. Youth and adult
Forever 15: Tragedy on the Water A mock drowning conducted on May 22, 2012. Youth and adult
LORENA FOREVER 15 A mock drowning conducted on June 4, 2013. Youth and adult
Cassidy's 21st Birthday Short story of a young lady that did not come home. Youth and adult
Lake Reaper Short video on perils of poor choices on the water Youth and adult

NEW Water Safety SHOCK POSTERS !!!

We have placed many of the new posters in and around the parks. They are blunt and to the point to remind you to be safe so you can go home alive.

Below are a few links that will allow you to view what the posters say. Keep in mind that these are only examples and the ones you see in the parks may have wording differences.



  • Poster 2
  • Poster 3
  • Poster 4
  • Poster 5
  • Poster 6

Teaching and Educational Resources

Top of Page

If you are a teacher or educational director and need help teaching water safety, then please contact the lake office and speak with a Ranger. With our materials and experience we can help you put together a presentation tailor made for your age group. Out materials are designed to fit most ages from pre-k to retirement.

Click on the Ranger Hat below to get a hold of a Ranger at

Canyon Lake to arrange a water safety event at your school or facility.

Free Post Card

Free Poster

Click on any of the icons on the left to go to a resource site.

Youth, Young Adult and Adults will be able to learn from the material on these sites below.
External Resources Short Description
You can get free and purchasable teaching supplies for water safety from that source.
Great KID site for teaching the basics on water safety.
Great KID site for teaching the basics on water safety.
Youth, Young Adult and Adults will be able to learn from the material on these sites below.

Water Safety QUIZ

Click HERE to download the QUIZ and learn something new about Water Safety.

Math Problem Video

Click HERE to watch

Safe Boating

Top of Page

Safe Boating

Videos, Links, and Material to help you begin to learn safe boating.

Boating and Water Safety for Kids
Article with links to several other boating sites
All Ages
US Coast Guard: Boating and Safety
Video on Safe Boating
All Ages
How to Ger Your Boating License This version is for USA Residence
All Ages
How to Ger Your Boating License This version is for Canada Residence
All Ages
How to Use a VHF: It Might Save Your Life Good, simple information on basic boat VHF radio usage
All Ages
How to Coil A Line Simple video on how to properly coil a boating line for your boat.
All Ages
How to Properly Tie Up Your Dock Lines Simply video to guide boat users on how to tie up to a dock.
All Ages
Boating Tips: Tips for Easier Docking Good video on docking a boat.
All Ages
Boating and Kids Website dedicated to safe boating and water safety.
All Ages
Boating Safety "Sidekicks" Website dedicated to safe boating and water safety. Has educational resources, videos, books, and other activities aimed at teaching kids water and boating safety.
All Ages

Thanks to Taylor Roberts and her two grandchildren, we were able to come up with a good topic for this section on the water safety page.

Wear your life jacket