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Life Jacket Loaner Program For Kids A Life Saver


Fri May 27 00:00:00 MDT 2005

Joe Hagengruber of Helena boating in June, 2004 on Tongue River Reservoir was successful catching black crappie.

Joe Hagengruber of Helena catches crappie

Boaters in Montana can borrow life jackets for kids for free through a special loaner program developed by Montana’s Safe Kids Campaign, a project of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

"This loaner program means every child can be protected when they are on or near the water," said Liz Lodman, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks boating coordinator.

Montana law requires children under 12 to wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket. All boats must have a life jacket available for each person on board.

All that is required to borrow a kid’s lifejacket is a driver’s license and the commitment to return the life jacket to the same site at the end of a boating trip. Life jackets are available in three sizes to fit infants under 30 pounds, children 30-50 pounds and youngsters 50-90 pounds.

"This program works because we have loaner sites on almost all of the major waters in the state," Lodman said. "On Flathead Lake near Kalispell there are five different locations to obtain a free loaner life jacket for a child, and other major lakes and reservoirs may also have more than one site."

Other waters with life jacket loaner sites include: Fort Peck Reservoir near Glasgow; Lake Elmo State Park in Billings; Georgetown Lake near Anaconda; Canyon Ferry Lake near Helena; Frenchtown Pond State Park near Missoula; and numerous other sites.

For details on the free life jacket loaner program call 800-421-6667 or go to the Internet and search for Montana Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies. 

Also visit FWP's website for more information about Boating Education and Montana Boating Laws.