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Lifejacket loaner station will help prevent drownings

Posted Aug. 26, 2020

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the station itself
Located in Mustang Park near the day-use area, the station is stocked with five adult lifejackets and six child lifejackets.

With the COVID-19 crisis limiting social options, more people than ever will be heading to Benbrook Lake to enjoy their Labor Day weekend on the water. Now, their celebrations will be safer, thanks to a new lifejacket loaner station constructed this month at the lake.

The station in Mustang Park is stocked with adult- and child-size lifejackets, which can be borrowed free of charge.

The risk is real: During March and April of this year, incidents of open-water fatalities increased roughly 45% over last year, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“Drowning is the number one cause of death in boating fatalities, and most victims were found not wearing their lifejackets,” said James Fike, president of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition. “Lifejackets prevent drowning, and we hope that the new lifejacket loaner station will help people stay safe while they enjoy the water, whether they are on the lake beach or out on the lake boating.”

The loaner station on Benbrook Lake will do more than save lives – it will also help people comply with Texas law. All boats in Texas are legally required to have enough lifejackets on board for every passenger, and children under 13 years of age must wear one when a boat is underway or drifting. Despite the law, last year Texas game wardens issued more than 500 citations for children not wearing lifejackets and more than 1,500 citations to boats with an insufficient number of lifejackets on board.

Volunteers from the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition helped build the lifejacket loaner station in partnership with the Junior League of Fort Worth and the Benbrook Lake Corps of Engineers.

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