The Sea Tow Foundation has added 87 organizations and agencies as partners to add new or restock existing Life Jacket Loaner Stations for the 2020 boating season.
The Foundation is also offering tips and guidelines for boaters using life jackets from a loaner station, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.
“Many agencies and organizations depend on our experience and knowledge in boating safety and our expertise in life jacket loaner programs,” said Sea Tow Foundation executive director Gail Kulp in a statement. “Since the virus has impacted all of us in one way or another, we know it is important to provide guidance to boaters that want to borrow life jackets from our loaner stands. We want to continue to ensure that drownings can be prevented through loaner life jackets that are available to be borrowed at no cost.”
The Foundation is offering tips and guidelines including asking boaters to follow local and state guidelines around beach and ramp closures, and following social distancing tips.
The Foundation has also provided general cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
“We consulted Onyx Outdoors, the manufacturer we purchase our loaner life jackets from, as well as representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, who oversee our grant for the life jacket loaner program, to help develop signage and language to include on every loaner station,” said Kulp. “Stickers are being provided to each loaner station host in the coming weeks and new loaner station signage will be printed with the wording already on it.”
All stations will contain the following language: “Life jackets are provided for the community. Each user who borrows a life jacket is obligated to inspect the life jacket prior to use and to return it clean and in good working order for the next user. These life jackets are not inspected or maintained after each use. Life jackets are borrowed at your own risk.”
Through its program, the Sea Tow Foundation has distributed more than 65,000 life jackets to local businesses, agencies and organizations across the country since 2008 to develop life jacket loaner programs in their local areas.