ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The BoatU.S. Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids will add 20 new lending sites across the U.S. thanks to a grant from West Marine, BoatU.S. said in a release this morning.
The grant will cover the costs for over 250 children's life jackets, as well as signage to help boaters identify a loaner site and registration materials to track usage. To date the program has saved at least three children's lives and loaned out tens of thousands of life jackets, BoatU.S. said.
"The BoatU.S. – West Marine strategic alliance has really allowed us to combine resources to make boating safer for families, and this latest effort gives us an ideal way to work together toward a common goal," said Ruth Wood, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation.
"We are committed to promoting boating safety, especially when it comes to children,” said Tom Carey, senior vice president of marketing for West Marine. “Drownings are a leading cause of boat fatalities and this loaner program gives parents an easy way to keep their children safe."
The Life Jacket Loaner Program loans out free kids' life jackets at launch ramps, marinas and waterfront business locations for the day, afternoon or weekend. About 40 additional new loaner sites will be announced in May 2004, bringing the nationwide total to over 300.