Phoenix, Arizona - Arizona’s boating season is here and the Arizona Game and Fish Department is helping watergoers prepare for a safe time on the water by offering multiple life jacket exchange events in the coming weeks.
Now in its 11th year, the Life Jacket Exchange program allows people with an old, worn out life jacket to swap it for a new one (while supplies last). Last year, the department’s Boating Safety Education program exchanged 1,520 of the life-saving jackets.
The events run from 10 a.m. to noon on these specific dates:
- May 25 – Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell
- May 25 – Parker Canyon Marina
- May 25 – Patagonia Lake State Park
- June 1 – Willow Springs Lake
- June 7 – Antelope Point at Lake Powell
- June 8 – Big Lake
- June 15 – Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman Office
- June 22 – Show Low Lake
Please note that Type I and Type II life jackets will not be accepted.
Before heading out on the water, it’s important that boaters check to ensure that their life jackets are in good condition and that they are the right size and fit for passengers. When inspecting life jackets, look for any rips or tears, missing straps, broken fasteners, and to ensure that the flotation hasn’t shifted. Life jackets should be inspected each boating season due to the environment’s impact on their materials.
State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while on board and each passenger must have a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket available.
Wearing a life jacket is the simplest way to ensure an individual’s safety on the water.
Drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2017, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most readily available statistics. In the 449 water-related deaths that year, 370 people — approximately 84.5 percent — were not wearing a life jacket. Those statistics are reflected in Arizona: There were eleven recreational boating fatalities in the state last year and sadly, we’ve already had our first fatality of 2019 that involved a kayaker that was not wearing a life jacket. These deaths are preventable.
For more information about boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.