Life jackets will be available at Big Lagoon, Freshwater, Van Duzen, and A.W. Way County Parks from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day thanks to a grant from the Sea Tow Foundation. Life jackets ranging in size from infant to adult extra-large will be available to borrow free of charge.
An initial grant from the Sea Tow Foundation in 2017 enabled Humboldt County to start a life jacket loaner program at Big Lagoon, Freshwater, and Van Duzen County Parks. Big Lagoon is especially popular for kayaking and canoeing. Freshwater County Park provides a swimming area along Freshwater Creek during the summer when the temporary dam and fish ladder are operational, typically starting in mid-June. Van Duzen County Park provides access for swimming in the Van Duzen River at the Swimmers Delight campground and day-use area.
A second grant from the Sea Tow Foundation in March 2019 supported the addition of 54 life jackets and the start-up of a new loaner station at A.W. Way County Park along the Mattole River near Petrolia.
The Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program is part of a federal grant project funded by the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Water safety should be an upmost priority as people look forward to visiting Humboldt County’s rivers and lagoons for boating and swimming, because swift currents and cold water temperatures can create challenging conditions. Ten people have drowned in Humboldt County since 2017. Swimming in the ocean is unsafe and strongly discouraged.
In addition to wearing life jackets, other safety considerations include:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near the water.
- Don’t drink alcohol before entering the water.
- Be aware of hazards below the water surface such as rocks or wood.
- Understand that lifeguards are not present and the arrival of emergency services may be delayed.
For more information, contact:
Pat Boyle, Senior Park Caretaker
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