Life Jacket Loaner Stations – End of Season Update
Life Jacket Loaner Stations – End of Season Update
Article by Dan Ohman, LLA Vice President | Extracted from the 2023 Summer Wrap-Up Newsletter
Wearing life jackets saves lives. The Lake Lanier Association is proud to announce the expansion of our Life Jacket Loaner Station program for 2023. We began this program in 2020 by launching two stations at the beach area of Mary Alice Park. Since then, the program has expanded into the City of Gainesville and Hall County.
For 2023, LLA started the season with plans to expand our loaner station presence at the busy Forsyth County Park, Mary Alice. A total of two additional stations were installed here – one at the boat ramp and another on the beach. This brought the total of LLA life jacket loaner stations at Mary Alice Park to four – a total of three on the beach and one at the boat ramp. This felt like a full-circle moment to install new stations at the park where this program was initiated. However, the growth for this Safe Lake intiative didn’t stop there! Shortly after completed the stations at Mary Alice Park, LLA was approached by Tim Rainey, USACE Operations Project Manager for Lake Lanier, and Forsyth County Parks and Recreation to install an additional station at Shady Grove Campground Beach. LLA was able to respond to this request quickly and remain within program budget thanks to our program sponsor, Michael James Remodeling. Special thanks to Michael James Remodeling, for donating the supplies and labor to build the two new stations at Mary Alice Park. LLA also received financial support from West Marine, which assisted in the costs to stock the loaner stations with new, high-quality life jackets throughout the summer season.
All of the existing and new stations were fully stocked with Life Jackets in infant, child, youth, and adult sizes prior to the Memorial Day weekend. The LLA and our amazing group of volunteers manage the stations during the traditional lake season from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with weekly monitoring and restocking as necessary. After Labor Day, we won’t be monitoring and restocking the stations, but people can continue to borrow and return any life jackets that may be available.
As summer comes to a close, LLA always receives inquiries about donating life jackets. We greatly appreciate the generous offers to donate life jackets, and would accept donations of life jackets (PFD’s) in good condition. Please use the graphic (right) for drop off locations or view the life jacket donation locations online here.
We continue to be grateful for the volunteer and sponsor support of this program. We would specifically like to thank The Ohman Family Foundation and one of our former volunteers, Duane Fischer for the financial support of this program. LLA is pleased to have the continued support and partnership of Michael James Remodeling. As well as the support of Forsyth County Parks and Rec, West Marine and the Corps of Engineers.
I would also like to recognize and show appreciation to the volunteers who were monitoring our stations this summer. Thanks to the efforts of these volunteers, they have each had a hand in helping to make our lake a safer environment for people to enjoy. Those volunteers are:
- Charleston Park – Al Petrangeli
- Lake Lanier Olympic Park – Danny Smith
- Laurel Park – Danny Smith
- Mary Alice Park Beach – Jason Burton, Bonny Putney and Victoria Clevenger
- River Forks Park – Teresa and Bert Stanfield
- Shady Grove – Jason Burton
- Wahoo Creek Park – Danny Smith
- Young Deer Park – Gregory Westbrook, Amanda and Becca Wade
Thanks to all of our volunteers for taking the time and effort to make a difference!
LLA asked our life jacket loaner station volunteers and local affliates about the life jacket loaner station program – Why volunteer? What makes it impactful? Check out what they had to say about this Safe Lake initiative!
“I always thought the life jacket stand was a great idea. So when they were looking for volunteers for young deer, my teenage daughters and I volunteered. We enjoy walking down there in the evening and straightening it up and inventorying the jackets. Both my daughters are lifeguards and so was I when I was in high school. So we know how important life jackets can be ….and it’s a fun way to volunteer and make a difference.”
Becca, Betsy, and Amanda Wade | Young Deer Park
“We really like having the life jacket loaner stations at our lake parks. It is great seeing the jackets in use and equally great knowing that boaters and swimmers are safe while enjoying the lake. Having many jacket sizes available at the loaner stations provides peace of mind that people are wearing a properly fitting PFD.” Carrie Toth | Lake Services Division Park Supervisor for Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department
“LLA is doing a lot of wonderful things and this is just one of many! It was such an easy task to volunteer, as it requires such a small amount of time and effort each week – and has such a great impact on the safety of our community. If it has even saved one life or allowed someone to enjoy the lake that otherwise would not have felt safe to do so, it is so rewarding.”
Teresa & Bert Stanfield | River Forks Campground Boat Ramp
1). It will save lives. In addition to providing Life Jackets, the Program provides awareness about the potential dangers while enjoying the lake. It also serves all ages. It provides a branding opportunity for LLA.
2). I am very fortunate to live on the lake and respect the dangers that could present themselves. Those visiting the lake focus on having fun and may not think Safety First. The loaner stations create awareness and resources for visitors visitors. Plus, it’s opportunity to serve our community.
3). It’s a way to give back and potentially save a life.
Al Petrangeli | Charleston Park
“When I learned of LLA’s program to provide life jackets, I felt it was an opportunity to contribute to and emphasize safety on the lake. One evening last summer I observed a family consisting of 2 adults and 3 youngsters, I’m guessing about ages 6 to 12, removing and restocking LLA jackets after being on the lake. I’ve also received numerous comments regarding what a great program it is, as wells as questions asking if the Corp funds the program – giving me an opportunity to mention the LLA and other projects it supports.”
Danny Smith | LLOP, Laurel Park and Wahoo Creek Park
Our goal continues to be about creating awareness and availability that wearing life jackets saves lives. We want to preserve great times on the lake and prevent tragedies by making people aware of the importance of wearing life jackets as an integral part of their enjoyment of our beautiful lake both in and on the water (like wearing a seat belt in a car), and making life jackets available to those in need. The stations are designed and built to last, with large signage area on both sides that is bilingual and like a billboard to promote wear it awareness, and instructions on how to properly wear the jackets.
We will continue to look at expansion opportunities in the future for swimming and boat launch areas around the lake. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have an interest in volunteering to support the ongoing monitoring of these stations, or if you have personal or business sponsorship interest in financially supporting our ongoing stations and future expansion efforts. #WearIt