PHOENIX (KSAZ) - On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard partnered with Arizona Game and Fish and gave away hundreds of life jackets to lake-goers at Saguaro and Canyon Lakes.
"You know, three weeks ago we had an incident here. That's the first time in ages we've had anybody die on our lakes because we're out here all the time," said Dave Esparza with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Esparza says when it comes to being out on the water, it takes just seconds for something to go wrong, but it can also take just a few minutes to prevent a disaster.
"Important. Absolutely a necessity. We've got three small kids, so before they get to the dock, they have to have their life vests on, so I think it's important that everybody does as well," said Liz Lowe, a lake-goer.
The program encourages cars to pull over, go through some basic boat safety checks and will accept old life jackets for brand new ones.
Just a few minutes, says Esparza, can prevent a life-changing event.
"That's the whole reason for wearing life jackets. Being educated and knowing what's going on around you. It's a deadly sport, it really is," said Esparza.
Serving as a good reminder that even if you have vests to always make sure they're the right size and fit.
"I think it's a great program, yeah, because they get worn out over time and so many people use them and stretching out the straps and I think it's a great idea and keeps everybody safe," said Lahonda Bishop, a lake-goer.
Both Canyon and Saguaro Lakes have a vest borrowing program as well.