West Marine contributes to life jacket loaner program

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – West Marine, the marine equipment and boating supplies retailer, made a significant donation to the BoatU.S. Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Program for children, according to a statement from BoatU.S. yesterday. The loaner program allows boaters to borrow a children's life jacket for free for the day, afternoon or weekend at marinas, boat clubs and other waterfront businesses.

West Marine provided the funds through a direct $5,000 grant and an online promotion. From May 1 to June 30, 2005, BoatUS-store.com, which is owned by West Marine, offered to contribute $1 to the Foundation's loaner program for each life jacket purchased at the online store. Customers purchased 912 life jackets online, a 25 percent increase over last year, which resulted in an additional $912 in funding for the program.

"The BoatU.S. Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Program has loaned out over 10,000 life jackets to date," said Tony Gasparich, vice president of Internet sales for BoatUS-store.com and WestMarine.com. "We are proud to contribute to a program that has such a great impact on boating safety."

"West Marine's generous support has allowed us to fund new life jacket loaner locations as well as replenish many of our 350 sites across the country," said Ruth Wood, BoatU.S. Foundation president.

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