The Arizona Game and Fish Department will hold multiple life jacket exchange events at area lakes Saturday, July 27 and Aug. 3.
Now in its 11th year, the Life Jacket Exchange program allows people with an old, worn out life jacket to swap it for a new one (while supplies last). Last year, the department’s Boating Safety Education program exchanged 1,520 of the life-saving jackets.
“Wearing a life jacket is the easiest thing someone can do to protect themselves against drowning, but it only works if they’re still in good operating condition,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD’s boating safety education coordinator. “We conduct these exchange events to ensure Arizona’s boaters and paddlers have a life jacket that fits correctly and is in great condition.”
The events run from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 27 at five locations throughout the state including:
- Bartlett Lake at the Jojoba Ramp
- Canyon Lake at the main boat ramp
- Lake Havasu City at London Bridge Beach (10 a.m. start time)
- Lake Pleasant at the 10 Lane and Castle Creek boat rams
- Saguaro Lake at the main boat ramp
In addition, the department will host two exchanges Aug. 3 with one at 9 a.m. at Bullhead City fire station #2 and the other at 7 a.m. at the West Wetlands boat ramp in Yuma. Another will be held on Aug 17 at 10 a.m. at the Water Safety Expo at Manzanita Pool at 5110 S. San Joaquin Ave. in Tucson.
Please note that only ski-vest style life jackets may be exchanged.
Before heading out on the water, it’s important that boaters check to ensure that their life jackets are in good condition and that they are the right size and fit for passengers. When inspecting life jackets, look for any rips or tears, missing straps, broken fasteners, and to ensure that the flotation hasn’t shifted. Life jackets should be inspected each boating season due to the environment’s impact on their materials.
State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while on board and each passenger must have a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket available.
Drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2017, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most readily available statistics. In the 449 water-related deaths that year, 370 people — approximately 84.5 percent — were not wearing a life jacket. These deaths are preventable.
For more information about boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, go online and visit: