Another summer season has come to an end on the beautiful Upper Delaware River.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of their partners and everyone working together as a team, they added several new aspects to Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River’s (UPDE) Water Safety program over the course of the 2013 visitor season.
As days shorten and temperatures drop the river is not being visited by nearly as many boaters or swimmers. This does not mean the end of the Water Safety program. During the off season officials will continue their commitment to prevent drowning on the Upper Delaware River as they prepare for a busy 2014.
In 2013, they worked closely with local news media, both radio and television, to promote water safety. Park rangers delivered important water safety messages about the importance of wearing a life jacket for a 30 second pod cast aired by Bold Gold Media, for WDNH’s Sunday morning programming, and for Channel 28, the local NBC affiliate out of Scranton, PA. When water levels were high, the local radio stations also alerted the public of mandatory life jacket wear regulations in their hourly news broadcasts.
A public service announcement (PSA) was created and ran as a 30 second video prior to the feature movie at local movie theaters in a partnership with CineMedia. It was really exciting to see the “Wear It when Fishing, Boating, Swimming, or Floating” on the Delaware River message broadcast onto the big screen over the summer months.
This type of outreach proved to be a very effective way to reach hundreds of movie goers each week during the peak visitor season. This PSA was also posted on the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Facebook page and was made available to the local commercial liveries for use on their own business webpages.
Another partnership resulted in the creation and distribution of water safety rack cards.
The cards were distributed locally and in the metropolitan New York area to reach visitors before they make their way to the river.
These rack cards engage the reader with a fun water safety quiz, followed by the important points of water safety. A new QR code was developed at the beginning of the season and placed on the rack card to link readers to Upper Delaware’s “Water Safety” webpage. The QR code was also made available to local businesses and livery operators.
A majority of the liveries added the QR code to their brochures in preparation for the 2013 visitor season. The Upper Delaware Council also included the QR code on the reprint of their Visitor Information Map and Guide.
Page 2 of 2 - With the response being so great during the 2012 season, officials once again printed “Wear It!” posters and lawn signs which were distributed to local businesses and home owners. The lawn signs were placed strategically along the major roadways leading to and in the Upper Delaware River corridor. Visitors and everyday travelers did not have to go very far to see a “Wear It!” sign in the lawn of a homeowner, business or at a local intersection.
Another fun addition this season was the design and production of Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River’s new “A National Park Service Ranger caught me wearing my life jacket on the Upper Delaware River” T-shirts.
This concept was born out of a similar incentive program from New River Gorge National River where visitors wearing a properly fitted life jacket can be rewarded with one of these T-shirts if they are “caught” being safe by a park ranger. The UPDE shirts were designed by a summer intern and come in youth and adult sizes.
The water safety message is important to get across to all ages and all types of river users. One big way in which this has been accomplished over the past two seasons is with the presentation of Water Safety programs to over 2,000 fifth grade students during May, which is Water Safety Month.
By sharing this message with students before school is out for the summer, it is the hope the children can teach their family and friends the importance of being safe around water and why wearing a life jacket can save lives.
As the 2013 season wraps up, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River officials thank all who have contributed to the success of this program for a second season.
Everyone from the local fire companies volunteering to place the Wear It! message on their signs, to the college student working at a livery for the summer and reminding a client to wear their life jacket for the entire length of their river trip, to the National Canoe Safety Patrol who spends countless hours out on the river, to the homeowner who quietly placed a Wear It! sign in their lawn for the summer; each and every one plays an equally valuable role in ensuring the safety of all river users.
As a reminder, for those of you who do have Wear It! lawn signs, UPDE asks that you bring them in by Columbus Day for storage for the winter months. Wear It! signs will be placed back out for public viewing again starting May 1, 2014.