While most Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stands are maintained by Sea Tow locations across the country, last year the foundation secured a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, administered by the Coast Guard, that enabled it to help non-profit organizations and state boating agencies across the country start Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stand Programs in their areas. A total of 18 agencies and organizations were selected to benefit from the grant.
As part of the project, Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation, traveled to Utah this summer to visit several of these new life jacket loaner stand locations and check on how the program was working.
Deer Creek State Park, located in Midway, offers loaner life jackets to visitors involved in powerboating, kayaking, canoeing, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), tubing, rafting and swimming. Life jackets must be worn by children age 12 and under on any vessel and must be worn by people of all ages on moving waters such as the section of the park on the Provo River. The citation for not wearing a life jacket in Utah is $120 per person (compared with $40 for not wearing a seat belt in a car), so having free life jackets available for a day on the water is a great tool for the rangers to use in promoting boating safety in this park.
Willard Bay State Park, located northwest of Salt Lake City in Willard, Utah, is a reservoir that is popular for powerboating, fishing, swimming, camping, and birdwatching. The park has two marinas and loaner life jackets are available at the main ranger station. These life jackets already have been used numerous times – Gail reported that the stack of sign-out sheets already was more than two inches thick from just the past couple of months!
The third location that received a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stand was East Canyon State Park, not far from the border with Wyoming in Morgan, Utah. The climate is much cooler in this part of the state, so it is a popular destination. The park allows powerboating, swimming and fishing, as well as hiking, camping and picnicking. Loaner life jackets are made available to park visitors at the main ranger station. When Gail visited, they were used by participants in a Cinco de Mayo boating event held at the park.
It’s an undisputed fact that life jackets save lives, and the Sea Tow Foundation is proud to play a part in helping to get free loaner life jackets into the hands of boaters who need them. The Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program has distributed more than 22,000 life jackets to boaters since its launch in 2008.
We are delighted to announce that the program will continue. This year, the Sea Tow Foundation received another generous grant of $120,000 in funds awarded by the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, to help it establish more life jacket loaner stands to help promote boating safety across the country. Private and corporate donors such as brewery giant Anheuser-Busch and several of its locations also have provided essential funds to establish new life jacket loaner stands. Stay tuned to Sea Tow News for more information about these generous donations.