Every parent wants to make sure his or her child is as safe as possible, and that is especially true for parents who take their kids on the water. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water makes it easier for boating families to stay safe with its national life jacket loaner program. Around the country, marinas, fuel docks, BoatUS Towing Operators, Army Corp recreation sites and other waterfront businesses lend out kids’ life jackets for the day or weekend to families who have a temporary need for one.
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water began distributing kits to sites across the nation in 1998 and it’s been growing ever since. There are now over 500 loaner sites nationwide, which loan jackets more than 140,000 times a year.
One of the program’s goals is to educate boaters on the significance of wearing the appropriate size and type of life jacket while boating. Another is to make sure a day of boating isn’t spoiled just because a family forgot a life jacket at home. And finally, the most important goal is to keep kids safe out on the water! The program is funded in part by donations from over half a million members of BoatUS.
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 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. 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; applications are now being accepted for this year, but applications will only be accepted until March 31st. If accepted into the program, each location 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. The life jackets must be made available for free to the boating public in a readily accessible but secure location.
If you are interested in being a life jacket loaner site or would like additional information on the program please contact the program administrator at email@example.com.
The U.S. Coast Guard requires that all children under 13 on boats underway must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while on Federal waters. This rule does not change or supersede the existing law in states which have life jackets laws and only applies to states that have no laws. Check out the life jacket laws in your state.
PFD (Personal Flotation Devices) regulations for NJ: Age 12 and under must wear a PFD whenever a recreational vessel is underway. PFD’s must be USCG approved, must fit properly and be in good condition. Exceptions when a PFD does not need to be worn: if the child is in a fully enclosed cabin that is a permanent, non-removable part of the recreational or commercial vessel that is designed to carry passengers, then the child is not required to wear a PFD.
PFD (Personal Flotation Devices) regulations for PA: Age 12 and under must wear a PFD on any vessel 20 feet or less, including kayaks and canoes. A PFD must be worn while a vessel is underway. The PFD must be Coast Guard approved.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also passed a new regulation which took effect November 1, 2012, and states that: all persons shall wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from November 1st through April 30th while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.
Life Jacket Loaner locations closest to the Lehigh Valley are: Baums Cove Marina, 110 Main St. Tullytown, PA, 215-949-2100; Bridge Marina, 89 Brady Road, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, 973-663-1976; Lake Mohawk Marina, 150 East Shore Trail, Sparta, NJ, 973-729-6350; Lighthouse Harbor Marina, Inc., 969 Route 507, Greentown, PA, 570-857-0220; Ridley Township Municipal Marina, 401 S. Swarthmore Avenue, Ridley Park, PA.