La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- A new program to help ensure boater safety launched down at the West Copeland Boat Landing on Friday.
The "Loaner Life Jacket Station" is part of a state-wide program called "Kids Don't Float." It's sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The goal is to make sure every boater is equipped with a life jacket before the head out on the water.
The La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department and Gundersen Lutheran partnered with the DNR to stock the station with life preservers. Jackets ranging from infant to adult size are available for any boater to borrow for the day.
The law in Wisconsin requires anyone under the age of 13 to wear a preserver, and every boat must have one personal flotation device for everyone on board.
"We understand that sometimes, especially people that don't own boats, maybe the just have friends or family out on the boat for the day, they're probably not going to have enough life jackets for everybody," said Kim Lombard, trauma injury prevention coordinator for trauma services at Gundersen Lutheran. "This gives them the opportunity, or anybody really, that doesn't own life jacket, to come and borrow it for the day."
The opening of the site comes at the end of the boating season, but it will be up and running for another month.
"With this pilot program that the DNR did, another site fell through, so we jumped on that opportunity. Which is why it's a little later in the season, but it'll be up through September of this year," Lombard said. "And then we'll take it down in the winter season and it'll be right back up in the spring of next year."
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