The return of free life jackets at Lake Granbury

The return of free life jackets at Lake Granbury

Lake Granbury’s Water Safety Awareness Day is returning this May with more than 300 free life jackets for the kiddos, 100 free fishing poles and lots of booths and excitement.

2019 Water Safety Awareness Day

This event remains as important as ever since there remains a large misconception that drowning is loud, involves a lot of splashing and someone bobbing up and down in the water, said Kyle Lewis, the Brazos River Authority’s project manager/program coordinator at Lake Granbury.

“Drowning isn’t like what you see on TV. It is sudden. It is silent,” he said. Looking away for just a moment could be a moment too long.”

That’s why it’s so important to take time each year to get well-fitted life jackets for children who enjoy visiting the water supply reservoir.

Lake Granbury’s Water Safety Awareness Day will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 6, 2023, at Rough Creek Park, 2209 S. Morgan St. (Hwy 144). After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will mark the 5th annual event for those in the Hood County area. Each year, the BRA’s Water Safety event has steadily grown to include more guests, more life vest giveaways, and more participation by other organizations throughout the surrounding community.

Reservoir Manager Connie Tucker said the Water Safety Awareness Day originally started out of a discussion with lake rangers about lake safety. What’s the one rule on the water where there’s no leniency?

Each lake ranger answered that children not wearing a life jacket (personal floatation devices) while on a watercraft is the one area they absolutely must enforce, Tucker said. Every adult in a boat with a child that is not wearing a life jacket would get a ticket. But the discussion continued with the determination that instead of focusing on ticketing people, how could the office promote the use of life jackets, she said. 

Let’s give away life jackets! And so they did – and continued to do so even during the pandemic.

Enforcing life jacket use amongst children isn’t just about following the law. Those working in the Lake Granbury office have seen the life-changing tragedies that occur when life jackets are ignored. 

“Drowning can happen in an instant,” Tucker said. “A boat hits something hidden underneath the lake water, and people go flying off. It just takes a split second, and you’re airborne. I would not be opposed to a law that says anyone on a watercraft must wear a life jacket.”

What: Lake Granbury’s 5th annual Water Safety Awareness Day
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 6, 2023
Where: Lake Granbury’s Rough Creek Park, 2209 S. Morgan St. (Hwy 144)
Cost: Free

Wearing a life jacket is not just for those who are not strong swimmers. Experienced swimmers can become fatigued or disoriented in the water, making it difficult to stay afloat. A life jacket can provide the necessary buoyancy to keep you afloat while conserving your energy, allowing you to focus on staying calm and calling for help if necessary.

Lake water is murky, and you can’t see a child underwater and know they are in trouble, Lewis said. 

“One second you’re there, and another second you are gone,” Lewis said. “Drowning doesn’t discriminate.”

The lake office’s annual event not only hands out free life jackets but invites in organizations to help teach different safety topics to our youth, Tucker said. 

“We have not done the full event for a few years, so we’re very excited to get back to it and hope that people will remember and come on out,” Tucker said.

Vendors and sponsors continue to be added, but here’s a look at the latest:

• 95.5 K-Hits

• American Red Cross

• Carter Blood Care

• Celebrity Pools – Marshall Barton, Mike Seiger

• Creations Child Care & Learning

• Gary & Janice Turner – Hot Dog Cooks

• Granbury Fire Department


• Hood County Community Emergency Response Team

• Hood County Emergency Management

• L.G. Marina / North Texas Kayak

• Pecan Fire Department

• PowerLine Safety Group

• Radiant Swim School

• Safe Kids North Texas

• Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office

• Texas EMS

• Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Dinosaur Valley State Park

• Texas Search & Rescue

• Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District


The first 300 youth at the event will be fitted for their own free life jacket. Life jacket sizes are based on weight, not age, so it’s important to ensure the right size is given per child. Not all life jackets are created equal. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. It’s essential to choose one that is appropriate for the activity you’re engaging in, and that is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.

The first 100 children interested will get a free fishing pole that they can use immediately. Experienced fishermen will be on hand to help them learn to bait and cast a line.

Two buses from Carter Blood Care will also be on hand to allow people to donate blood. Though the event ends at 1 p.m., Carter BloodCare will take donations until 2 p.m. 

K-Hits 95.5 FM will broadcast live from the event. The Upper Trinity Groundwater District, with its teaching trailer, and other groups will provide many educational booths for kids to visit. 

Come enjoy a free hotdog under the sun.

If you can’t make it to the event or if you’re looking for a new life jacket yourself, here are some important reminders from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department about how to choose the right life jacket: 

Try It On

  • Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight to get started.
  • Make sure the life jacket is properly zipped or buckled.
  • Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket, and grab the shoulder material, gently pulling up.  
  • If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.
  • If the jacket is too tight, go the next size up. Life jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.

Important Reminders 

  • Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
  • Double-check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite boating activities.
  • Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.”