Kaw Lake Association collecting life vests

Ponca City Now - June 3, 2016 3:02 pm

Aaron Brown, Kelly VanZant, Keith Kuhn and Greg Bunnell show members of Cub Scout Pack 3517 how to properly wear life jackets during the recent Kaw Lake Kids Focus on Fishing. This Saturday, the Corps will partner with the Kaw Lake Association to accept donations of life jackets at the Kaw Lake Association office from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.


“Save a Life” is the theme of a special promotion of the Kaw Lake Association and Kaw Lake Educational Foundation. This Saturday, June 4, these two organizations will team up with the Corps of Engineers to ask people to donate life jackets at the Kaw Lake Association office, 3517 Lake Road, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“For the past three years the Kaw Lake Educational Foundation and the Corps of Engineers have conducted water safety radio campaigns around Memorial Weekend, Fourth of July and Labor Day,” said Brook Lindsay, foundation vice president. “This year we’re expanding this promotion with the Kaw Lake Association to ‘Save a Life.”

Life jackets donated at the KLA office will be available to the public to borrow on their way to the lake. Although the emphasis is on youth sizes, all size jackets are appreciated, said Natascha Holloway, association president. Each person donating a life jacket that day will be given a free soft drink or bottled water.

In addition, if you find yourself on the way to the lake without enough life jackets, the association invites you to stop by their office any time and pick one up.

“Life jackets are also available to borrow from the Sandy Beach gate house,” said Peat Robinson, Kaw Lake Corps project manager.

Sixty percent of boaters who drowned in 2007 did so in waters below 50 degrees in temperature, according to the United States Coast Guard. The majority drowned after experiencing shock from cold-water immersion rather than succumbing to hypothermia.

"If you think that you can swim to shore, you may be surprised as to how far you cannot swim," said Capt. Jon Maggio, commander of the Norwalk Fire Department (NFD) Marine Unit. "Below 50-degree water, statistics pretty much double. Forty-three percent of people died less than six feet from safety."

“It’s tempting to boat without wearing a life jacket, especially on nice days,” said Rachel Johnson, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization of Wear It!

“A life jacket not worn can’t save your life. Always Wear It,” she said.

Water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, white water rafting, and riding a jet ski are the most common water sports. It’s just as important to wear a life jacket when canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or taking the boat out on the lake.

To have a life jacket in the boat but not wear it is like not wearing your seatbelt in your car or not wearing a helmet on a bike or motorcycle. The life jacket may not be comfortable or fashionable, but any situation can take a turn for the worse unexpectedly. Just like in driving a car or riding a bike, accidents happen so quickly you may not have time to put on your seatbelt, helmet or life jacket for it to do its job.

According to a blog from Bass Pro Shop titled “The Importance of Wearing a Life Jacket,” there are several opportunities while out on the water a person could encounter a situation where a life jacket could save their life.

The weather could change causing the water to become so rough that a person could be thrown from their boat. Also, a person could slip, fall and hit their head, becoming unconscious; or run their boat onto unseen obstacles causing the boat to sink, or swerving to avoid an obstacle and throwing someone from the boat. In all of these situations wearing a properly fitted life jacket highly increases your chances of survival.


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