RIDGWAY – Boaters and paddleboarders at Ridgway State Park can be assured of having the right number of lifejackets on-board thanks to a new program sponsored by the Sea Tow Foundation, a boating safety and education organization.
Bright yellow bins located at Dallas Creek and the main boat ramp hold the life jackets which are available to be used for free for the day. In order to use the loaner life jackets, users only need to fill out the check-out form on the inside of the bins. Lifejackets must be returned at the end of the day.
“Safety is our top priority at the park and this is a great program that will help to increase safety for people in boats and on paddleboards,” said Chelsea Murray, park ranger at Ridgway.
The life jackets are available in sizes to fit children, adolescents and adults. The number of lifejackets on-board must match the number of boat passengers. Children 13 and under must wear a life jacket. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends that everyone on a boat wear a lifejacket at all times.
All paddleboards are reminded that must also carry a life jacket. It’s recommended that it be worn while on the water. Children must wear a lifejacket while on a paddleboard.
“A paddleboard is a vessel so you must have a lifejacket onboard when you are in the water,” Murray said. “Our new loaner program is ideal for paddleboarders.”
Violations of lifejacket regulations will result in a fine of $52.50.
The nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation, based in New York, promotes safe boating practices and education initiatives aimed at reducing recreational boating accidents. Sea Tow’s loaner program operates at more than 200 locations throughout the United States. It’s loaned out more than 22,000 life jackets since the program was started in 2008. The program is funded by donations and grants through the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information about Ridgway State Park, seecpw.state.co.us.