“Beautiful But Gone” Video Packs Powerful Water Safety Message
AUSTIN — As thousands of Texans make plans to take to the water over the Labor Day weekend, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is releasing an emotionally charged educational video aimed at getting a boating safety message to parents.
“Beautiful But Gone”, a sequel to “Never Happens: True Stories From Texas Boaters and Swimmers,” is a video intended to keep water safety fundamentals in Texans’ minds when swimming and boating.
The new 10-minute video features moving interviews with parents who lost a child in a preventable accident with the hope that sharing an important message with other parents will save lives.
Among those interviewed for the video were Donna and James Gorzell of San Antonio, a couple who lost their 15-year-old daughter Kali in a boating accident outside of Rockport three years ago. Kali and her two best friends had gone fishing for their last hoorah of summer before school started. Unfortunately, Kali was killed after being thrown from the boat and struck by the propeller. When the Gorzells got to the hospital, her father had to view his daughter to make a formal identification.
“She was beautiful…but gone,” he says.
Stressed in the video are four basic precautions for boaters of any age:
Wear a life jacket. Most persons who have died in a boating accident would be alive today if they had worn a life jacket.
Use the ignition safety switch. Commonly called a "kill switch," it stops the engine if you fall overboard so you won’t be stranded, or run over by your boat.
Learn how to swim.
Closely supervise children
Since Aug. 31, 2013, more than 86 people have lost their lives on Texas waters in boating or swimming accidents worked by Texas game wardens, an unusually high number of fatalities.
Last year in Texas, 146 accidents were reported by the U.S. Coast Guard, 31 of which ended with deaths. Statistics show many of these tragedies could have been prevented.
“As if the interviews in this video are not powerful enough, it’s important for people to understand that 90 percent of water deaths are preventable,” said Tim Spice, TPWD’s boater education manager. “The absolute most important factor in this is wearing a life jacket.”
State law requires that a personal floatation device be available for each occupant of a boat, and children under the age of 13 are required by the law to wear a life jacket while the boat or paddle craft is underway or drifting.
The “Never Happens” video that was introduced earlier this summer will be shown at all boating safety classes in Texas. In addition, it will be used in public school outdoor education programs and in Texas’ driver’s education curriculum.
Both videos are the result of legislation filed last session by Rep. Tan Parker, who asked the agency to create a water safety message that could be incorporated and shown in all drivers education classes in the state. With assistance from Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio, TPWD was able to secure funding for the project and develop these videos that will be seen by more than 225,000 teenagers each year.
“Beautiful But Gone” is available at http://youtu.be/RsAKt5jcDKI. The department has also produced a video news report at http://youtu.be/qNCJQWoa578. A VNR on “It Never Happens” is also available at http://youtu.be/P1TMSoS4OVo . For a high resolution download of the news video, go tohttp://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/files/video/, and look for AUG VNR-Beautiful But Gone. To see the full “Beautiful But Gone” video go to the TPWD webpage at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov and click on Boating and Safety.
It is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1993 to obtain a boater’s education certificate before they can legally operate a vessel with a rating of more than 15 horsepower. Anyone supervising the operation of a vessel by another must be 18 or older and exempt from the boater education requirement (born before 1993) or have a boater education certificate.
For information about boater education courses, visit: http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/learning/boater_education/internet_courses.phtml