A life jacket loaner station was unveiled last week at Culpepper Landing as part of a grant received by Washington County. [CONTRIBUTED]

Kayakers, canoers and boaters at Culpepper Landing now have an extra safety measure in place thanks to a grant from Sea Tow to install a life jacket loaner station.

The grant consisted of 36 life jackets in various sizes to be used by those who may be short one for the amount of people on board. Florida statute requires each person aboard a vessel to have a life jacket of appropriate size and in serviceable condition.

Washington County Human Resources Director Wendy White found out about the grant last year and applied on behalf of the county. The award was given at the end of April. Sea Tow sent the county the 36 life jackets to be placed at the location of choice. As Culpepper Landing is the site most used by kayakers and canoers, that location was the obvious choice.

“We want our citizens and visitors to be safe on our waterways,†White said. “This grant helps us to add another layer of safety for those that visit.â€

Sea Tow Foundation started the program in 2008 and has since then distributed more than 90,000 life jackets to counties, businesses and organizations across the country. According to the Sea Tow website, there are more than 1,000 life jacket loaner stations currently in operation. The stations are placed in locations which give easy access at places such as marinas, parks and boat ramps.

The jackets are free to use for those who need them. They only ask that the jackets be returned when they are done being used. Anyone with life jackets they do not use, have outgrown or found while on the creek may donate those jackets at the loaner station. 

For more information, contact the Washington County Board of County Commissioners at 850-638-6200.