Thanks to the Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – more than 1,600 individuals and family members attending this year’s Miami International Boat Show left with a better understanding of the importance of life jacket use.
Through partnerships with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Onyx Outdoor Gear, the Sea Tow Foundation – with the help of about 100 volunteers – set up four Life Jacket Loaner Stations and loaned out more than 1,600 life jackets at the event, which was held Feb. 14-18 at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key.
These pop-up tent stations are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program – which hosts more than 500 locations nationwide where boaters can borrow life jackets for free and return them at the end of their boating trip. The loaner stations at the Miami show ensured that life jackets were made available for children and adults visiting the shows as they walked the docks and explored the countless boats and other exhibits on display.
Each life jacket loaner station was staffed by volunteers from several local schools, businesses and organizations, as well as local Sea Tow members and other members of the community.
“We appreciate the NMMA for their support in allowing the Sea Tow Foundation to provide this service to the 100,000 attendees and their families at the boat show.,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “With the U.S. Coast Guard requiring children age 13 and under to wear a life jacket while on a boat, these life jacket loaner stations helped families looking to take a sea trial ensure that their kids were ready for the water and led to a record number of life jackets being borrowed this year.”
Kulp added that the Foundation is present at not just the Miami International Boat Show, but several other NMMA shows around the country, as well.
“We want to educate as many people as we can – especially young children – about the importance of wearing a properly-fitted life jacket anytime they are around the water,” Kulp said. “Knowing that over 1,600 infants and young children borrowed our life jackets and that their parents were educated on how to ensure the life jacket fits properly was a good sign that we are instilling a message that wearing a life jacket is important, easy and can even be fun.”
To learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation and its programs, or to find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you, visitwww.boatingsafety.com.