Discovery Bay will soon be home to the launch of a Delta-wide water safety program called Always Feet First (AFF).
John Garza discussed the development of the program at a meeting on Thursday, June 25, with local stakeholders, including members of the Pacific Coast Water Rescue Team, Joseph Eldam of the Discovery Bay Marina, Mike David of Executive Auto Pilots and Mike Davies, general manager for the Town of Discovery Bay.
“We would like to do a Feet First program,” Garza told the meeting attendees. “This was a national program years ago, educating people so they don’t dive into the body of water.”
Though the original program is no longer active, Garza will take what he remembers and build on it, changing the name from “Feet First” to “Always Feet First.” He intends to use his team to build a campaign, design a website and logo, and educate people about the dangers of diving into unknown water. He said he has the support of the Department of Boating and Waterways and will ask fire agencies on the Delta to stand up with him.
During the meeting, several participants shared stories of friends and loved ones who had suffered severe injuries as a result of diving into shallow or unknown water. Eldam said his family was forever changed by a diving accident.
“My brother-in-law, about 30 years ago, he dove headfirst in two feet of water,” Eldam said. “He didn’t know, and he’s been a quadriplegic since.”
Davies assured Garza of his willingness to support the program and help educate residents.
“The Feet First safety program will prevent injuries and save lives,” Davies said. “The Town’s website will link to the Feet First program in an effort to help spread the word.”