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Summer officially kicks off this week. As you plan to enjoy local rivers, beaches and lagoons, make water safety a priority. Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services’ (DHHS) Life Jacket Loan Program is making more than 150 life jackets available to borrow at 11 of the county’s most popular waterways. Wearing a life jacket can save a life. Between 2011 and 2018, more than 50 people drowned in Humboldt County. Local waterways are very cold, have swift currents and can make it impossible to stay afloat without a life jacket. The United States Coast Guard says that, to work correctly, a life jacket must be the appropriate size for the intended user, be in good condition and, most importantly, be worn.In addition to wearing a life jacket, other safety considerations include:•Never leave a child unattended in or near water.•Don’t drink alcohol before entering the water. Up to 70 percent of all recreational drowning incidents involve alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.•Be aware of hazards below the surface of river water. Trees, rocks and sunken objects can move after high flows. A location that was familiar and safe in the past could be dangerous during your next visit.•At the ocean, choose flat beaches over those with steep slopes. Watch for sneaker waves and keep your distance from the water’s edge.The Life Jacket Loan Program is made possible by a 2017 grant from the Sea Tow Foundation. Life jackets range from infant to adult sizes and are available at the locations listed below. Call ahead to confirm availability. Big Lagoon Park (weekends only)510 Big Lagoon Park Rd.Trinidad, CA707-445-7652Dream Quest100 Country Club DriveWillow Creek, CA530-629-3564Early Bird Café40640 Highway 299Willow Creek, CA530-629-4431Eureka National Weather Service300 Startare DriveEureka, CA707-443-6484Freshwater Park3100 Freshwater RoadEureka, CA707-445-7652Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park16949 Highway 36Carlotta, CA707-777-3683Humboldt Redwoods State ParkBurlington Visitors CenterAvenue of the GiantsWeott, CA707-946-1811
Richardson Grove State Park1600 Highway 101Garberville, CA707-247-3318Tsewenaldin Inn12400 Highway 96Hoopa, CA530-625-4294Tsunami Surf & Sport445 Conger Street, Building BGarberville, CA707-923-1965Van Duzen County ParkSwimmer’s Delight Park DriveCarlotta, CA707-445-7652For more information, call DHHS’s Healthy Communities Division of Public Health at 707-268-2132 or visit humboldtgov.org/1647/Life-Jacket-Loan-Program.
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