Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids launches at Holiday Harbor Marina

By MARIE NESMITH
Posted 2/19/19

To help bolster boater safety, Holiday Harbor Marina and Resort is taking part in BoatU.S. Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.“Boat U.S. and the BoatU.S. Foundation is an innovative …

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Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids launches at Holiday Harbor Marina

Posted

To help bolster boater safety, Holiday Harbor Marina and Resort is taking part in BoatU.S. Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.

“Boat U.S. and the BoatU.S. Foundation is an innovative leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating,” Holiday Marine Group CEO Eric Williams said. “The foundation provides educational outreach directly to boaters and supports partner organizations nationwide. Holiday Harbor has been the exclusive BoatU.S. home port and a co-op marina since 2002, which made our location a prime choice. According to Coast Guard studies, 84.5 percent of drowning deaths resulted from not wearing life jackets. The Corps of Engineers supplies loaner adult PFDs at Allatoona boat ramps, but children require different sizes and styles to keep them secure. We saw a need to fill the gap and BoatU.S. Foundation’s program made it easy.

“…  Boat owners are required to keep one life [jacket] on board for every occupant, not difficult for a boat full of adults. The problem comes up when they invite someone with small children — the one size fits all will not work. The boat generally will not have multiple sizes of children jackets and the guest family would have no reason to own [a] Coast Guard certified life jacket either. In the past, these situations required the family to purchase a jacket or use an improperly fitted unsafe jacket. By offering loaner [jackets, it helps] make it easy to keep kids safe.”

Launched on Valentine’s Day, the loaner program awarded Holiday Harbor 12 U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, with sizes available for infants, children or youth. For more details or to obtain a life jacket at no charge, individuals are encouraged to visit the Acworth marina — 5989 Groovers Landing Road S.E. — Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call Capt. Chris Day at 770-881-1123. The complimentary safety gear, which need to be returned to Holiday Harbor, can be signed out for day or weekend use. 

“Statistically, we have more deaths on lakes than occur in the open ocean,” said Day, owner of TowBoatU.S. Lake Allatoona. “The reason being is people become complacent. If you know that you’re going on a 30-mile trip offshore you’ll be sure to pack all the necessities and emergency gear you may need in an emergency. We want to install that same mindset on our everyday recreational boaters, because they can find themselves in the exact same emergency. Last year, I personally observed several children riding on the bow of boats without [a] life vest. Even having a life vest on in that scenario is a deadly one no one thinks about.

“Every year, Lake Allatoona has a drowning that could have been prevented. A fun day on the lake can turn into tragedy in the blink of an eye. If by this program along with the Corps of Engineers’ life jacket loaner programs — a life jacket worn, nobody mourns — we can prevent one drowning, it will be worth all the time and effort it takes to set these programs up. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2017 report, Georgia had more water-related deaths than Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands combined.”

For Day, bringing the Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids to Holiday Harbor is a key step in heightening boater safety at Lake Allatoona.

“Being the owner of TowBoatU.S. Lake Allatoona, it is my responsibility to make the community aware of the many benefits BoatU.S. and the BoatU.S. Foundation bring to our area,” Day said. “Just having a port here gives our lake a national voice. I was able to get Holiday Harbor Marina approved to be a Life Jacket Loaner [Program] for [Kids] site through the BoatU.S. Foundation. My hopes are to add a few more marinas before boating season starts for us.

“ … The BoatU.S. Foundation will also be hosting an On-Water Training Class April 13 and 14 on Lake Allatoona. One is Intro into Boating. It is designed for the new boater as well as the seasoned captain. The other is Women Making Waves. It is a women’s only class. Our hopes after the April class … [is to] continue the course on Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier. The total class has four levels. April will be Level 1. Levels 2, 3 and 4 are advanced training. It is some excellent training and all instruction is on the water with a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain.”

To obtain more information on the BoatU.S. Foundation, visit www.boatus.org.