A new life jacket loaner program at Lake Wateree makes the flotation devices available in a variety of sizes for children and adults at four heavily used areas on the lake.
Visitors can check them out at no charge and then return the life jackets to an information kiosk when they're finished swimming or boating.
The program is being promoted by several groups, including Children's Trust of South Carolina, Duke Energy, and Safe Kids South Carolina.
Safe Kids Coordinator Heidi Vaughn says Craig Keese and his family became water safety advocates after they lost a son and grandson who drowned in a Missouri lake in 2010.
“Both of them were not wearing a life jacket and unfortunately there was a bad storm that came up and they were not found for 90 days to 120 days,” Vaughn says.
“So the Keese family has brought this as their life's work to educate people about life jackets and brought the life jacket loaner program to South Carolina.”
From 2006 to 2010, drowning was the third leading cause of death for children under age 14, and drowning incidents can increase up to 89% during the summer months.
The life jacket loaner program is being made available to other lake communities in our state.
For more information, you can contact Heidi Vaughn with Safe Kids South Carolina at email@example.com or (803) 744-4029.
(Photos courtesy Children's Trust of South Carolina)