AZGFD gets ready for annual life jacket exchange next Saturday

- With the temperatures on the rise, more and more Arizonans will be heading out to some of the beautiful lakes around the state to enjoy a day of boating.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to make sure everyone is safe while out on the water which is why the department will have their annual life jacket exchange at lakes across the state next Saturday.

"The number one cause of fatalities with boating is drowning and the number one issue of drownings is people not wearing life jackets," said Josh Hoffman with AZGFD.

For the 10th year in a row, AZGFD will be exchanging old or ill-fitting life jackets for brand new ones next weekend.

"You've got to check your life jackets every boating season. In Arizona, the heat and sun do their toll on pretty much everything we know and life jackets are no exception to that rule," Hoffman said.

Last year, the department exchanged 850 life jackets. This year, being the 10th anniversary of the program, they're doubling that amount to 1,700.

"You want to have a life jacket that is going to fit you well because if you've got an inherently buoyant life jacket that doesn't fit you, if it's too big, it's going to pop right off your body when you get in the water. And if it's too big, you're not going to be able to get the snaps of the buckles fastened," Hoffman said.

In Arizona children under 12 must wear a life jacket at all times and there must be enough life jackets on the boat for everyone on board.

The life jacket exchange will be happening at popular boating lakes throughout the state.

To find one near you, AZGFD has all of the information located on their website.

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