Life jacket loaner stations debut at Lake Pleasant
NORTH VALLEY – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working to save lives by preventing drownings at Lake Pleasant with the installation of new Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the lake’s four- and 10-lane boat ramps.
“Boaters needing a life jacket may borrow one from the station, head out onto the lake and return it before they leave,” said AZGFD Boating Safety Education Coordinator Josh Hoffman. “We want people to have a safe, fun time on the water and having enough life jackets on board is one of the best ways to keep boaters and their families safe.”
Arizona Game and Fish Department crews put the finishing touches on the Life Jacket Loaner Stations on just before Lake Pleasant’s busy Fourth of July weekend. The two stations hold jackets for infants, child/youth, and adult passengers.
“A life jacket won’t be of much help if it’s the wrong size, so we keep a variety of sizes available to fit most people,” Hoffman said.
Having life jackets not only provides immediate protection for the boater, but may save a boater from receiving a citation for not having their children in a life jacket. State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard, and each passenger must have a properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jacket available. Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft such as a Sea Doo or Jet Ski also must wear a life jacket.
Drowning is the most common cause of death in boating incidents. In 2013, six of nine boating-related fatalities were due to drowning. Last year there were five boating-related drownings, according to AZGFD law enforcement figures.
“You will never be able to put on a life jacket fast enough when you really need it, so it’s always much safer to wear your life jacket at all times while on the water,” said Tim Baumgarten, AZGFD Boating Law Administrator.
In addition to the Life Jacket Loaner Stations now at Lake Pleasant, the Department is working to install others at Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake.
For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.