Local boating safety became a little easier on Tuesday, August 14 with the start of the free Life Jacket Loaner program at the Tierra Verde Marina Resort.
Boat towing service Sea Tow and the St. Pete chapter of America’s Boating Club have combined forces to bring the national free Life Jacket Loaner program to local residents and boating lovers. A ribbon-cutting at 206 Madonna Boulevard, commenced the official opening of the loaner program, but the stand has been going through a trial run over the last week.
“Here, in the store, we have better control,” said Cile Moreno, the owner of the St. Pete Sea Tow franchise. “It’s really been very successful.”
Boaters are welcome to come into the Tierra Verde Marina Resort store and take a bright yellow life jacket at their convenience.
The return of the jackets is based solely on an honor system. If some jackets are never returned, the grant will pay to replenish them as needed.
According to America’s Boating Club member Michael Cook, several of the life jackets were returned wet in the past week, marking the beginning of their use by the community.
“Our mission is primarily safe boating and education,” said Cook.
Through a grant with the US Coast Guard, Sea Tow has obtained several life jackets in both adult and child sizes, accompanied with a stand. Some loaner program stands include matching dog life jackets.
“Our son is the general manager; we live here in the community,” said Moreno. “This is just one of the things that we do for this community.”
Sea Tow has jacket loaner stands all over the country, with the St. Pete location being the newest. The sponsored stands pop up as far away as New York and pepper the East Coast.
For more information about the Life Jacket Loaner program and Sea Tow, contact the St. Pete franchise at 727-547-1868.