Life Jacket (PSF) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 1, 2013 — The sad truth about boating and kids is that children don’t always wear a correctly sized life jacket, and some kids even go without simply because of poor planning. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a life jacket loaner site in your area, boating parents can borrow a properly fitting life jacket for the day or weekend at no cost. If you operate a waterfront business, organization or government agency, you can help by applying to become a new loaner site for the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.
The largest and longest running free nationwide life jacket loaner program offers a range of child and teen-sized life jackets at over 500 loaner sites nationwide. Since the program began nearly twenty years ago, at least three children’s lives have been saved by wearing a BoatUS Foundation loaner life jacket and each year life jackets are loaned out over 140,000 times. The boating non-profit is looking to add at least 40 new life jacket sites this year.
There is no cost to host a loaner site, but applications will only be accepted until March 31st, 2013, and those that meet the program’s guidelines will be posted to the Foundation’s Facebook page for public voting. “We want applicants to help spread the word about keeping kids safe with our life jackets, and also draw positive publicity to their business or club,” said Outreach Manager Alanna Keating.
After public voting, each location that is accepted into the program will receive a life jacket loaner “kit” – a protective container that holds various sized life jackets for kids, signage, promotional materials and easy-to-use sign-out sheets to track usage. The program is simple for those hosting a location as well as for boaters, anglers and sailors needing a kid’s life jacket. “All we ask for in return is that the life jackets are available for free to the boating public in a readily accessible but secure location, and hosts periodically let us know how the program is going,” added Keating.