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Life jacket use hits record highs at NMMA boat shows

More than 34,000 attendees at the NMMA-hosted 2019 Tampa and Norwalk Boat Shows left with a better understanding of the importance of life jacket use, thanks to loaner stations set up by the Sea Tow Foundation.

Through partnerships with NMMA and Onyx, the Sea Tow Foundation set up two stations at each of the shows to ensure that life jackets were made available for children and adults visiting the shows as they perused the docks and toured the various boats and other exhibits on display.

“It’s so great to see so many different people using our life jackets at these shows,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “With each person who borrows a life jacket or sees our life jacket loaner stations, we’re able to help spread a vital message on the importance of life jackets and always having them any time you are in or around the water. These shows are such a great opportunity to help further our cause to ensure boating is safe and fun for everyone involved.”

The shows are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program – which features more than 575 locations nationwide where boaters can borrow life jackets for free and return them at the end of their boating trip.

Each Life Jacket Loaner Station was staffed by volunteers from several local organizations, as well as local Sea Tow members and other community volunteers. By the time the shows concluded, more than 54 volunteers offered up their time to help spread awareness on the importance of life jackets.

“Children are required by law to always wear life jackets, so getting them familiar with them at these shows is a great service to boaters,” Kulp said. “Having the opportunity to show these young children, in particular, that life jacket use can be simple, easy and, most of all, fun has a profound impact on the boating community as a whole. We’re so thankful to be able to team up with our friends at NMMA to help spread these important messages at their shows.”

To learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation and its programs, or to find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you, visit www.boatingsafety.com.

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