Boat ramps at Jenkins Creek and Bayport will be getting life jacket loaner stations thanks to an agreement between the County and Swim for CJ, Inc., a Weeki Wachee-based non-profit created to raise public awareness of water safety and drowning prevention.
During its May 25 meeting, the members of the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to enter the agreement under which Swim for CJ, Inc. will install Life Jacket loaner stations at the Jenkins Creek and Bayport boat ramps. A station is currently located at the Hernando Beach boat ramp.
The new installations will retrofit signal boxes that are slated to be surplus by the County Department of Public Works.
“Ultra Graphics has generously agreed to help design and wrap them for us, (and) The Sea Tow foundation will help to stock them with life jackets,” said Swim for CJ, Inc. Spokesperson Dana Foland. “Once the boxes and life jackets are ready to go, the county will install them for the public to use.”
Available life vests will range in size from infant to adult oversized. Users will borrow life jackets on an “as needed” basis.
“The life jacket loaner program is a borrow and return system for boaters who need to borrow a life jacket for the day,” Foland said.
BOCC Chairman John Allocco said that the agreement will help provide boaters with peace of mind.
“We are teaming up with Swim for CJ Inc so no one goes out on the water without a life vest for every boater, and that no life is unnecessarily cut short due to a life vest being unintentionally left at home,” Allocco said.
The installations at the Jenkins Creek and Bayport boat ramps will begin in the coming months