To kick off National Safe Boating Week, the Sea Tow Foundation is working with 22 organizations around the United States to launch 14 new life jacket loaner stands and replenish eight already established loaner stands, in 16 states.
The new and replenished life jacket loaner stands will make 1,188 life jackets available to anyone, adults and/or children, to use for the day at no charge.
The Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Stand Program has provided more than 40,500 life jackets throughout the U.S., free for anyone to use for the day, via more than 400 loaner stand sites.
“Life jackets can save lives and everyone should have one when they’re on or in the water. That¹’ why we’ve set up this loaner stand and hundreds more like it across the country,” said Michael Wesolowski, Sea Tow Foundation executive director. “Everyone can find a life jacket at the loaner stand that fits that they can wear for their day on the water, then return it for someone else to use the next day. There are even sizes to fit infants and children.”
According to the most recent Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard released in 2015, about 76 percent of fatal boating accident victims in 2015 died from drowning, and 85 percent of these drowning victims (where life jacket use was known) were not wearing a life jacket.
The U.S. Coast Guard requires that a properly fitting life jacket be available for every passenger aboard a boat, and that anyone under age 13 wear one at all times while on board and outside of an enclosed cabin. The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that everyone always wear a life jacket while a boat is underway.
The life jacket loaner stand program is funded through donations, as well as a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The purpose of the grant is to increase the number of life jacket loaner stands in the country; specifically, in areas where there have been high incidents of drowning.
To learn more about partnering with the Sea Tow Foundation to sponsor a life jacket loaner stand, or to see a full list of loaner stands, visit www.boatingsafety.com.