Staying Afloat - Texas Parks and Wildlife E-Newsletter

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Fall/Winter 2008          A publication of the Boater Education Program—Staying Afloat

Ship's Log

It has been a whirlwind two years, since I came on board as the State Boater Education Coordinator in July 2006! In that time, I have traveled statewide to meet many of our dedicated volunteer instructors, Area Chiefs, and boating safety partners. I look forward to meeting more of you this year, and continuing to work together while we promote boating safety. Your ideas on how to make a very successful program even better are invaluable!

Boater Education Instructor Resources
Now Available ONLINE

The TPWD Boater Education Program now offers training aids, frequently used publications, incentive award program information, PowerPoint presentations, and other helpful instructor resources ONLINE.

2009 Boat Texas Manual and New Exam Available Now!

For those of you who are itching to teach your first class of the new year, please be sure to order new manuals and exams that have been updated for the 2009 season! Please be aware that the exam has changed, and you will need a new grading answer sheet to grade them properly. A new grading sheet will be included in all new supply orders beginning in January, 2009.

New Boater Education Association of Texas – An Organization by Instructors, for Instructors!

TPWD Boater Education Instructors are in the process of forming the BEAT, a non-profit organization dedicated to instructors, by instructors, for instructors.

View From the South

In the third-most-destructive hurricane ever to hit the United States (historically lesser than Katrina (2005) and Andrew (1992)), entire marinas along the Texas coast vanished within a couple of early-morning hours on September 13, 2008.

View From the North

Texas winter boat shows in the North Texas area typically happen early, and we’re always thankful to the marine dealerships that most of the shows occur during January and February.

Statewide Boat Shows a Success
Join Us in 2009!

Boating safety professionals statewide participated in partnership booths at boat shows around the state in 2008, providing fun family activities, boating safety information, and boater education class information to boaters of all ages. We THANK YOU ALL for a very successful season!

TPWD Is Saving Dollars to Do More for Boating Education
Sign Up to Receive the NEW Boater Education E-Newsletter!

The TPWD Boater Education Program staff are doing everything we can to help cut costs and spend more of our limited operational funds on items that will help instructors teach courses more effectively and that will provide the most effective safety information to the boating public.

How Can I Become a Boater Education Instructor?
New Policies and MOUs in Place for Volunteers, U.S. Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Teachers, and Law Enforcement Officers

TPWD has had a very successful relationship with fellow boater education providers across the state, including the U.S. Sail and Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, among others. The first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these organizations and TPWD to provide the Texas state certification, as part of their existing courses, was created in 2003. We have now updated those procedures to make the process more streamlined. The MOU, which will be updated every three years, will incorporate new procedures and technology as they become available.

New Party Boat Operator License and Inspections Now in Effect

In 2007, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 12, otherwise known as the Party Boat Law. This legislation is now part of Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 55, Subchapter H, and went into effect on June 1, 2008. Prospective Party Boat Operators are now being checked for both operator licenses and boat inspections, and will be required to have these no later than June 1, 2009.

The TPWD Personal Watercraft Simulator
A Fun Way to Reach New Boaters!

“Wait a minute … Hunter education has this cool laser shot hunting safety game for visitors to play at special events … and we need something like that for boater ed!”

Boater Ed Program Reaching Out to Texas Boaters

Boater education instructors and volunteers, working in partnership with TPWD, reached over 28,000 potential boaters with water safety messages and hands-on activities in the 2007 – 2008 season! Outreach efforts included boat shows, outdoor expos, fishing tournaments, school fairs, safety fairs, concerts, and many other venues where we reached out to potential boaters around the state.

A Necessary Task

“Paperwork,” that ugly, dreaded word — but a necessary task before an instructor can consider a class complete.

Summary of the 2003 National Lifejacket/PFD Wear Rate Observational Study Findings

Field research by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., was conducted in several cities nationwide, to capture the naturally occurring behavior of life-jacket wear rates among recreational boaters. Six years of data was collected from 1998 to 2002, to form the National Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Wear Rate Observational Study.

Clean Texas Boater Program Is Good for Boating

Texans like boating and marine recreation on our coastal and inland waterways, and they want clean water for recreational use. Protecting and preserving clean Texas waterways and maintaining water quality is up to each of us. By adopting and teaching pollution prevention measures, Clean Texas Boaters can take satisfaction in knowing they are doing their part to preserve clean Texas waterways.

Save the Date!

A New Annual Statewide Boating Safety and Education Partners Meeting & Workshop!


Please email your ideas for team building, boating, and instructional activities, and meeting agenda topics you’d like to see included in this year’s event to no later than August 1, 2009.

Workshop Date: Friday, September 25, 2009
Location: Omni Hotel, Corpus Christi, TX

Captain’s Challenge

Are you as seaworthy as your boat?

“The approximate distance to a storm center can be determined by noting a barometers hourly rate of fall. Assuming you are on your boat and you note a 0.08 – 0.12 inch per hour fall on your barometer, what is the approximate distance to the storm center?”

Email your solution, not just the answer, to If you’re correct, he will mail you a genuine Boater Education Instructor key float!

Ideas to Get More BANG for Your Fuel Bucks

We have all been hit hard by much higher fuel costs, both as boater education instructors and in our personal lives. We’d like to share ideas to help save on costs, to give each other a hand. If you have any additional ideas, please e-mail them to, and we’ll include them in our next newsletter!

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