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Life Jackets for Loan at Popular Boat Ramps

New Life Jacket Loaner Station

JENSENS GROVE, Idaho - Those heading to out to play on Ririe Reservoir this weekend will be among the first to be able to borrow life jackets from a new loaner station at the Blacktail Boat Ramp.

Earlier this summer, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation installed several stations throughout the area at American Falls and Jensen's Grove.

Like many others, the Turner family loves to spend summer afternoons out on the water.

"We're just going to go out, have some fun, drive around and pull a tube, try to get some people thrown in the water," said father Jared Turner.

When his kids go flying off the tube, they will be wearing their life jackets.

Idaho law requires children under 14 to wear jackets while the boat is moving, and there must be a vest available for every passenger.

"Unfortuantely the stories we have, the ones we see most of the time, a life jacket would have saved somebody's life, but since they didn't have one they ended up losing their life," said Bingham County Marine Deputy Shawn Humphreys.

Boaters who find themselves in short supply can still head to the water, thanks to life jacket loaner stations. Many popular swimming spots also have loaners available.

Folks can grab whatever they need for the day, and drop them off when it's time to dry off.

The kiosks have a variety of sizes, from the littlest of kids through adults. The fit of the jacket is nearly as important as having one.

Deputy Humphreys says, "The proper fit on the life jacket is you don't want it too tight, and when you pull up on the shoulders on it you don't want it raising above your ears."

Jared has plenty of life preservers for his family, but plans to use the loaners when they bring along extra friends.

"If we came up and realized we were short a couple of vests, we would definitely want to use them, I am glad they are there," he says.

The jackets are free for anybody to use, the county just asks that you return them when you are done.

The Blacktail life jacket station makes for 46 and counting statewide, all of which are paid for by a grant from the Cost Guard, according to Juelie Traska, Boating Safety and Education Coordinator for Idaho Parks and Rec.

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