To further promote recreation and water safety, Yuba Water Agency has partnered with Yuba County to establish the Life Jacket Loaner Program.
Four loaner stations have been installed at New Bullards Bar Reservoir and Lake Francis to increase the use and accessibility of life jackets and prevent drowning-related incidents. Each of the life jacket stations is stocked with 20 life jackets of various sizes, which are available to borrow at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Safety is always our number one priority in everything we do,” said Yuba Water General Manager Willie Whittlesey. “This program will help ensure that those who don’t own or have access to life jackets still have the opportunity to recreate safely.”
Three loaner stations have been installed at New Bullards Bar – one near the Emerald Cove Marina and boat ramp, and two at the Dark Day camping area and boat ramp. A fourth station was installed at Lake Francis on the public side of the lake near Lake Francis Resort.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2005 to 2014 there was an average of 3,868 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States, which is approximately 10 drowning deaths every day.
“It only takes a moment. In the time it takes to check a fishing line, flip a hamburger on a BBQ or apply sunscreen, a child without a life vest can drown,” said Megan Marshall, deputy director of public health for the Yuba County Department of Health and Human Services. “In joint celebration of Father’s Day and the importance of our children’s safety, we are proud to partner with Yuba Water Agency to make life vests available at these four recreation locations in our community.”
In September of 2019, Yuba Water granted Yuba County more than $47,600 for the installation of the loaner stations and cost of the program during its first year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both agencies made the decision to hold off stocking the stations until they deemed it was publicly safe to do so.