Life jacket exchange and vessel safety check event in Kingman Saturday

 The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Kingman (USCGAux 9-8), are continuing the 10th anniversary of the AZGFD Life Jacket Exchange Program. (Photo by Nat Edwards [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Kingman (USCGAux 9-8), are continuing the 10th anniversary of the AZGFD Life Jacket Exchange Program. (Photo by Nat Edwards [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Are you ready for our Part 2 (post monsoon) boating season?

It’s time once again to check your boat and all of your equipment, and the most important item on your boat are your life jackets. The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Kingman (USCGAux 9-8), are continuing the 10th anniversary of the AZGFD Life Jacket Exchange Program.

Life jackets will be exchanged from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the AZGFD Office, 5325 Stockton Hill Road. Bring in your worn, damaged Type III Life Jacket (the vest type only), and we will exchange it with a new Coast Guard approved one. Type II, the orange over-the-head style, will not be accepted for exchange.

Signs of unserviceable life jackets are rips, tears, stitching coming apart, broken buckles, frayed straps, or floatation material inside breaking down. The instructions and “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” must be legible.

It is important that boaters inspect each life jacket and ensure they are in good condition and properly fit each person on board. State law requires all passengers 12 years old and under to wear a life jacket while on board, and each passenger must have a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket available.

Life jackets that are too small may not provide enough buoyancy to keep someone afloat. If too big, they can slip over the heads of the wearer, or rise up and cover their face. Fit each person to ensure they have the right size.

Life jackets will be exchanged on a one-for-one, first-come first-served basis while supplies last. Any serviceable life jackets turned in can be used as loaners at the many life jacket loaner stations located at boat ramps throughout our area.

Life jackets save lives. The exchange is an excellent opportunity for Arizona boaters and paddlers to make sure they have life jackets that are in good condition and the proper size.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Kingman, is also offering a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) during the life jacket exchange. A VSC insures your boat meets all state and federal safety standards and that in an emergency you will have all necessary equipment to save lives and summon help. The VSC usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your boat, and if you pass you are awarded a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary VSC decal. There are no penalties if your boat does not pass and you will receive a written report for any discrepancies. This is an excellent opportunity to check your boat against State and Federal laws without receiving a citation.

So load your life jackets in your boat and bring it down to the AZGFD, 5325 Stockton Hill Road, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and do you part for boater safety.

For more information, contact Paul De Nubilo at 928-716-3840 or email denub4750@hotmail.com.