West Marine is teaming up with the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water to give away more than 2,500 life jackets.
West Marine donated the Type-III vest-style life jackets and the BoatUS Foundation found good "homes" for them at camps, for use in programs targeting at-risk youth and in community swimming and sailing programs, according to a BoatUS statement.
The National Safe Boating Council and state boating agencies in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Florida also received jackets.
"As part of our BlueFuture initiative, we encourage kids to get out on the water and enjoy boating," West Marine vice president of product information Chuck Hawley said in a statement. "We hope this donation will enable more youth to explore the wonders of our country's beautiful lakes, oceans and rivers safely."
"We looked at the wide variety of summer camp and sailing programs that get youth on the water and saw a real need," Lynne O'Hearn of the BoatUS Foundation said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate West Marine's effort, and I'm sure the kids will appreciate wearing these comfortable jackets instead of the standard orange horse-collar-type jacket that most camps offer. If kids learn early that life jackets can be comfortable, they will embrace wearing them their entire lives."