Life jacket stations open Friday at local lakes

The life jacket cabinet at Martha Lake County Park opens Friday. Pictured are Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Larson, Captain Ray Ju and Firefighter James Bailey from South County Fire.

Life jacket stations will open Friday at Martha Lake County Park and Lake Ballinger Waterfront Park.

These self-serve stations are stocked with life jackets for children and adults to use for free during their park visits. The aim is to increase life jacket use, raise awareness about water safety and prevent drownings, explained Shawneri Guzman, South County Fire outreach manager and Safe Kids Snohomish County coordinator.

Safe Kids Snohomish County also sponsors life jacket stations at Silver Lake, Lake Stevens, Lake Goodwin Community Park, Gissberg Twin Lake County Park, Flowing Lake County Park, Wenberg County Park and Lake Roesiger.

The life jacket stations will be open through Labor Day. Use is based on the honor system; availability is not guaranteed. The best option is to bring your own properly fitted jacket, Guzman said.

With or without life jackets, children require distraction-free adult supervision around water, she said. “We don’t want the life jackets to provide a false sense of security. Parents still need to keep a close watch on their kids.”

Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently. Childhood drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. It typically occurs when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision.

Drowning prevention tips

  • Life jackets are not a guarantee of safety.  Always provide close and constant adult supervision.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Stay within arm’s reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers.
  • Watch all children and teens swimming or playing in or near water, even if they know how to swim.
  • Designate a Water Watcher — a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in and around the water without distractions. Download a Water Watcher card and learn more
  • In an emergency, call 911 immediately.


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