Life Jacket Loaner Program
ALERT: Due to public health concerns, many life jacket loaner stations are closed for the rest of the year.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the statewide life jacket loaner program.
- The Life Jacket Association recommends life jackets possibly exposed to the virus should be carefully washed and allowed to thoroughly dry for at least 72 hours before the next use.
- Check before you go. You can find contact information for specific sites using the "find a site" resources listed below.
- If a life jacket loaner station is closed, plan ahead and bring life jackets. You are responsible for your own safety.
In partnership with the Washington Drowning Prevention Network, the State Parks Boating Program facilitates a statewide life jacket loaner program.
What is a life jacket loaner program?
When you go out boating and don’t have a life jacket or find yours doesn’t fit properly, you can visit a life jacket loaner station and borrow an infant, child, youth or adult life jacket for the day or weekend—at no charge. When finished, simply return the life jackets to the same station.
Life jacket loaner stations are located at marinas, near boat ramps or paddlecraft launch sites and at various state parks.
alert: Check before you go!
Due to COVID-19 public health concerns, many life jacket loaner stations are closed for the rest of the year. Check before you go.
Use the interactive map below to find one of the 180 life jacket loaner stations near you, or view a detailed list of all the life jacket loaner sites (PDF).
If you don’t find a loaner site near you, contact the local sheriff or police department. They may have life jackets available.
Are you a marina or park owner or manager whose facility provides boating access? Are you interested in helping promote safe boating out of your facility?
The State Parks Boating Program, in partnership with the Washington Drowning Prevention Network, can help you provide life jackets to the public through our free statewide life jacket loaner program. The goal of the program is to increase the use of life jackets and educate recreational boaters about the importance of wearing a properly fitted life jacket.
How does the program work?
When people go out boating and don’t have a life jacket or find theirs doesn’t fit properly, they can visit a loaner station and borrow an infant, child, youth or adult life jacket for the day or weekend—at no charge. When finished, they simply return the life jackets to the same station.
What assistance does the Boating Program provide?
We will provide life jackets in a variety of sizes and a dock box for storage. Directions for using the life jacket loaner station is printed inside the top lid in English and Spanish. Instructions include how to choose the right size and properly fit the life jacket and how to return it.
What are my responsibilities?
- Provide life jackets to the public at no cost.
- Place loaner station at water-access sites used for boating and paddling.
- Locations primarily used for swimming are not eligible.
- Inspect life jackets regularly to ensure they are offered in serviceable condition: no rips, tears, holes, mold, etc.
- Pull and dispose of any non-serviceable life jackets.
- Provide an annual summary report noting approximate usage of the station.
What about ongoing maintenance?
We will replace life jackets on an annual basis. Cheyenne Manufacturing is providing the dock boxes, which are available while supplies last. You are responsible for maintaining appropriate storage and signage.
Want more information?
Contact Derek VanDyke, Boating Program education and outreach coordinator, at 360-902-8842 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can apply for a life jacket loaner station at any time.
Carefully reading the life jacket label and manufacturer’s information will help you select the device appropriate for you.
Make sure life jackets are appropriate and fit properly by doing the following:
- Check the label to verify it is U.S. Coast Guard approved and marked with an approval number.
- Approval is shown by a stencil marking or tag. It shows the amount of flotation, the size and approved activities or any limitations for use.
- Read the label to make sure it is the right size.
- Sizing is always based on your body weight and chest size.
- It needs to help keep your head above the water. If it’s too big, the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small and it won’t be able to keep your body afloat.
- Life jackets made for adults will not fit children.
- Make sure you can properly fasten/buckle up the life jacket.
- The life jacket should be snug but not too tight.
- Check to see it works.
- Hold your arms straight up over your head, the have a friend or family member grasp the tops of the arm openings and slowly pull up. Make sure there’s no excess room above the openings and that the jacket doesn’t ride up over your chin.
- Test it in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions. See how it feels. Do the same for family members, especially children.
For more information about life jacket labels, choosing the right life jacket and more, visit wearitlifejacket.com.