Life jackets are designed to help you float in the water, they give you more time while waiting for help to come, they prevent drowning accidents, they save your life. It has been proven that it only takes 60 seconds for an adult to drown and 20 seconds for a child to drown. You should always wear your life jacket during any boating activity because it’s in only a matter of seconds your life’s direction could take a dramatic turn. *70% of all boating fatality accidents are from drowning. Almost 84% of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket. “Having life jackets aboard does not save lives, wearing them does!” (Dr. Randolph).
I am working on achieving the Sea Scout rank of Quartermaster and for my “Quartermaster Project” I built a life Jacket loaner station. This is a place for people to borrow and return life jackets. It is required by law to have a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel. I owe many thanks to the Sea Tow foundation for helping to make the Life Jacket Loaner Station become part of my community.
Thanks to a a grant from the Sea Tow Foundation, I was able to really get started because they donated all of the the life jackets toward this project. So thanks to them we have all different sizes: Adult (Small, Medium, Large, & Extra Large) also Child and Infant sizes. Statistics show that many deaths occur when children or infants are not wearing the appropriate size life jacket. Often when small sized life jackets are not readily available children will wear an adult size, the jacket may actually slip off in an emergency situation. Therefore it is extremely important to find the right fit.
I also needed to meet with the Hawaii Department of land and natural resources to explain and show them my plans, to obtain a permit for building it. They were very helpful and also donated the building supplies toward the station.
Hawaii Youth Maritime Program donated the painting supplies and the Crew of Sea Scout Ship Decisive, my family members and I built this life jacket loaner station together. It’s right next to the Coast Guard Station and the boat ramp at Nawiliwili Harbor.
Now anyone who doesn’t have enough life jackets for their boat can borrow them from this station. Our life jacket loaner station protects the life jackets from weather damage so they will last as long as possible. I would encourage everyone to build a life jacket loaner station in their community if you live near the ocean, rivers, lakes, or bays. This way you can promote safe boating and potentially save lives. *Remember: “It only works if you wear it!”
The Sea Tow Foundation may have grants available for others to acquire life jackets and also grants for life jacket loaner stations. For more information on this project, life jacket loaner stations, and the Sea Tow Foundation please check out their website:
*From this Brochure created by Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association, it contains important information and facts about Life Jackets: