Most drownings occur way out at sea, right? Wrong! Nine out of ten drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety and involving boats under 20-feet long. Most drowning Victims had a life jacket available and chose not to wear it. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol is working to make the boating season a little safer with the installation of life jacket kiosks at popular swimming and boating locations throughout Lincoln County.
“If someone forgot their life jackets, they can borrow a life jacket, use it free of charge; We just ask that they put it back. It is an “honor system”, said Marine Deputy Barry Bruster. “The idea is providing a safe boating and swimming opportunity and preventing drownings.”
The Sheriff’s Office has partnered with the Oregon State Marine Board, Lincoln County Parks Department, and local business to provide the life jackets to the public.
Each kiosk includes infant, child, youth, adult, and type IV throw cushion type personal flotation devices. The kiosks will be put up at the beginning of each boating season and remain available until Labor Day weekend or later. Deputy Bruster stated that this program will began before the 2016 boating season with the installation of life jacket kiosks across Lincoln County.
“Swimming and boating are a lot of fun, but drowning is a real danger,” said Deputy Bruster. “Life jackets can easily be forgotten, or sometimes families fall short of a life jacket or two. We hope that the life jacket loaner kiosk is a free and convenient resource for families to ‘grab and go’ with the hopes of eliminating preventable drownings.” The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is accepting donations of new or lightly used personal flotation devices approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Donations can be dropped off with Lincoln County, Moonshine Park Host or at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 225 West Olive in Newport. According to Keith Andresen, Lincoln County Parks Operation Supervisor, any usable life jackets dropped off at Moonshine Park will be exchanged for a free, one day, day use pass. The pass will be issued to anyone who makes a life jacket donation by Memorial Day, May 30th 2016, the start of the swimming season.