Loaner life jackets readied for summer swimmers

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s free life jacket loaner cabinets are set to open this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday.

The life jackets are provided at no cost to prevent drownings.

The program is organized by Safe Kids Snohomish County and the sheriff’s office.

The cabinets are open from dawn until dusk, and life jackets are available for swimmers and boaters.

Failing to follow life jacket laws on boats can lead to a citation.

The jackets must be returned at the end of the day.

The cabinets’ locations include Kayak Point, Wyatt Park, the Lake Stevens boat launch, Martha Lake, Twin Lakes, Lake Goodwin and Flowing Lake.

The jackets will be available to borrow through Labor Day.

Jackets can be borrowed for longer periods of time from the Marysville, Monroe and Index fire departments.

People also are reminded to keep a close eye on children while they are swimming.

At least 10 people drowned in Snohomish County in 2013, including children and teens.

Water is cold at this time of year and rivers are moving swiftly.

Parents are reminded to watch children carefully. Boats must carry one life jacket per occupant and all children younger than 12 years old must wear a life jacket at all times.

Donations of gently used life jackets are welcome, said Shawneri Guzman, coordinator of Safe Kids Snohomish County.

Jackets can be dropped off at fire stations around the county, she said.

For more information, go to www.providence.org/nw-safekids.

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