The Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – announced that it is collecting data from individuals and organizations around the country that operate life jacket loaner stations in an effort to create a national database of their locations.
As part of a grant through the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Sea Tow Foundation operates more than 650 life jacket loaner stations nationwide. An online map at www.boatingsafety.com/map was developed and maintained by the Foundation of their loaner stations as part of this grant as well. Unfortunately, there is not a national registry or map for all of the life jacket loaner stations operated by state agencies and other non-profit groups around the country, so the Sea Tow Foundation included the development of a national-level database into this year’s grant and hopes to register thousands more loaner stations throughout the U.S. over the coming months.
Individuals and organizations that want to have their life jacket loaner stations included in the database can submit their information via the following link: www.boatingsafety.com/lifejacketdatabase. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2020.
“Preventing drowning is one of the main goals of the Sea Tow Foundation and it is the reason why we started the Life Jacket Loaner Program in 2008,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director for the Sea Tow Foundation. “The purpose of the Life Jacket Loaner Station Database is to allow any boater within the U.S. to find a place where life jackets can be borrowed and returned, free of charge, so that everyone can have a safe and fun time on the water.”
The Life Jacket Loaner Station Database will offer an interactive map for boaters to find the nearest Life Jacket Loaner Station to their location. Different colored markers on a map will provide the exact address, the host organization for the station, and the name of the marina, park, boat ramp, etc. where it can be found. Life Jacket Loaner Stations are typically placed in locations where boaters will have easy access to life jackets, but they may also be available at local fire departments, community centers, and through the local marine law enforcement officers.