ANNAPOLIS, Md., December 8, 2014 – Waterfront businesses, local organizations or government agencies can help themselves, and at the same time, also possibly help save a child’s life. All they have to do is join the nation’s largest Kids’ Life Jacket Loaner Program offered by the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. By becoming one of the Foundation’s new no-cost loaner site locations available for 2015, a local business or group can have positive interaction with the boating public when a jacket is needed for the day or weekend. However, loaner site applications will only be accepted at www.BoatUS.org/life-jacket-loaner until March 1, 2015.
There is no cost to set up a loaner site and it’s easy to do. “We are looking for hands-on sites that will sign out the life jackets to boaters to help us track their usage,” said BoatUS Foundation Outreach Manager Alanna Keating. “This will help us make sure there are jackets always on hand.” Since the program began in 1997, the Foundation has learned that staffed sites have a higher rate of return for borrowed life jackets, which provide a better community service and continuing opportunities to discuss proper fit. Today, the Foundation supports over 550 sites nationwide that can be found at BoatUS.org/life-jacket-loaner/usamap.asp.
“We look to build an ongoing relationship with our sites and periodically ask them to check in with us to tell us how it’s going.” added Keating. “For borrowers, there is no cost. We know kids grow fast, and sometimes boaters need a correctly-sized jacket for a younger guest.”
Three children’s lives have been saved by wearing a borrowed BoatUS Foundation loaner life jacket and it has likely helped many others -- each year, jackets are loaned out over 140,000 times. “So, in addition to doing good work for the community, this gives groups or businesses that manage loaner sites a little additional foot traffic,” said Keating.
The most qualified applicants -- based on geographical needs as well as their ability to manage the program -- will be selected and notified in spring 2015. They will receive a “life jacket loaner kit” of 12 life jackets in various sizes from infant to adult, a protective container to keep them clean and dry, loaner program signage to display, promotional materials and easy-to-use sign-out sheets to track usage.
About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the over half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.