Swimmers at the Cottonwood Shores boat ramp and park have an additional safety resource available to them thanks to the collective efforts of the City of Cottonwood Shores, the Central Texas Water Safety Coalition and an ambitious local Life Scout.
Representatives from the City of Cottonwood Shores and LCRA joined local Life Scout Joseph Hugunin at the boat ramp and park to put into service a new life jacket loaner board. The City of Cottonwood Shores bought the materials for the new life jacket board, which Hugunin, a Marble Falls High School student, constructed as his Eagle Scout Service Project. LCRA stocked the loaner board with more than 20 gently used life jackets, which were donated by Sail and Ski centers in Austin and San Antonio.
The life jackets will be free for children and adults swimming at the Lake Marble Falls park to use on the honor system that they return the life jackets back to the loaner board when they leave the park.
“I am proud to be a part of this project – the Boy Scouts of America have always valued community service and have done a great job in teaching young men the value of giving back,” said Cottonwood Shores Councilmember Travis Hockensmith. “Being an Eagle Scout myself, I volunteered to oversee this project. I was excited that Joseph saw the need we had for life jackets and volunteered to help us. Mayor Janelle Long has been on a mission to get life jackets at our boat ramp, and with the help of Joseph and LCRA, we can finally provide them.”
The Boy Scouts of America, Sail and Ski Center and LCRA are members of the Central Texas Water Safety Coalition – the catalyst for bringing the loaner board to Cottonwood Shores. The coalition was co-founded by LCRA and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2001 to combine resources of its members and to increase awareness and water safety education. This is the third life jacket loaner board the coalition has assisted in bringing to public recreation areas on the Highland Lakes. In 2009, the coalition helped bring two life jacket loaner boards to Lake Travis with a grant from Safe Kids Austin – also a member of the coalition.
“We are pleased to have played a role in bringing these life-saving tools to Cottonwood Shores,” said Bill Hagy, LCRA Boating and Water Safety coordinator. “Wearing a life jacket is the single most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe when you are boating or swimming. We appreciate the commitment from everyone who contributed to making these life jackets available to the public for free.”
The Cottonwood Shores public boat ramp and park is located at 3729 Lakeview Drive on Lake Marble Falls. The City of Cottonwood Shores also is in the process of remodeling the boat ramp with grants from LCRA and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. LCRA’s Partnership in Parks Grant Program, which has since been discontinued, awarded Cottonwood Shores $200,000 in 2009 for a variety of boat ramp and park improvements.