DELAWARE – If you’re a boater in Kent or Sussex County, Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is making boating safer for you. They recently announced a program–their Life Jacket Loaner program that equips Natural Resources Police with life jackets to hand out to boaters on the water.

Brooke Mitchell, Sergeant of the Office of Boating and Safety Education said this year, Delaware had one boating fatality so far. According to a release on DNREC’s website, Delaware, which consistently has one of the lowest boating accident rates in the country, had 36 reported boating accidents and two fatalities last year.

Mitchell says this initiative, which is in partnership with Sea Tow Foundation could make all the difference to save a life.

“Just do a safety check before you leave the dock and make sure you have all your safety requirements, and if you do have any concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.”

Mitchell says Delaware law states that anyone under the age of 12 is required to wear a life jacket when they are on a vessel, and anyone older than that is not required, but they are strongly encouraging it.

They’re also urging through the initiative that people check their life jackets to make sure they are still safe to use, after storing them away during the Winter months.

“When people pull on them, sometimes vests will wear and tear, and snaps will come undone,” she said.

Officers will have loaner life jackets in sizes from Infant to Adult XL onboard their patrol vessels for the public to borrow and return.

For more information, including Delaware’s boating safety course schedule and the online Delaware Boating Handbook, click Delaware Boating Safety, or contact Boating Safety & Education Coordinator Sgt. Brooke Mitchell at 302-739-9913 or email brooke.mitchell@delaware.gov

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