Safe Boating Week kicks off in the Valley with life jacket exchange program

PHOENIX - (FOX 10) - For 11 years now, the Life Jacket Exchange Program has allowed boaters with old, worn out, or inefficient life jackets to exchange them for new ones, free. It's apart of a larger national campaign of safe boating week, and it kicks off now.

When the sun is shining, the water is perfect, and the temperature is just right, it can be easy to forget that bad things can still occur.

That's why Arizona Game and Fish, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary, have partnered up for safe boating week.

"It's an awareness program to keep our boaters out there safe, make them aware of wearing those life jackets, especially those little ones out there sometimes they sad things do happen," said Rick Harrach with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxilary.

Kicking off the national campaign locally, part of the program is to have stations where folks can get their gear checked before hitting the water. The stations would be at multiple locations including but not limited to, Bartlett Lake, Bullhead City, Saguaro Lake, and Lake Pleasant.

"We do a free vessel exam to make sure that their boat has all the right safety equipment aboard, if they don't have it we let know what they need," explained Harrach.

They hope boaters take advantage of their life jacket exchange program.

"Exchanging life jackets for the ones that are bad we give them a brand new one at no cost to the boater, for them for their safety and thank them for our inspections," said Harrach.

If you need a refresher on boater safety, Arizona Game and Fish is always a great resource.

"Tips and tricks, things to carry on your boat, what to do in boating emergencies, just wanting to keep our boating public safe, enjoying our beautiful water in Arizona," said Josh Hoffman, Boat Safety Education Program Coordinator.