Life Jacket Loaner Program

Already have a life jacket loaner program established outside of the Foundation's program? Complete a short survey to have your location listed on the Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Location Map.

Learn more about becoming a life jacket loaner site.

Every parent wants to make sure his or her child is as safe as possible, and that goes double for parents who take their kids on the water. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water makes it easier for boating families to stay safe with its national life jacket loaner program. Around the country, over 500 marinas, fuel docks, BoatUS Towing Operators, Army Corp recreation sites and other waterfront businesses lend out kids’ life jackets for the day or weekend to families who have a temporary need for one.

Thanks to WTLV in Jacksonville, Florida for their recent story on the Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids. View the video or see the original story here.


The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water began distributing kits to sites across the nation in 1998 and it’s been growing ever since. There are now over 500 loaner sites nationwide, which loan our jackets more than 140,000 times a year!

One of the program’s goals is to educate boaters on the significance of wearing the appropriate size and type of life jacket while boating. Another is to make sure a day of boating isn’t spoiled just because a family forgot a life jacket at home. And finally, the most important goal: simply to keep kids safe out on the water! The program is funded in part by donations from the more than half a million members of BoatUS.


Support the Life Jacket Loaner Program
Help Make Boating Safer for Children

Each year the need for life jackets outgrows the number that the BoatUS Foundation has available to loan.

For as little as $10, your tax-deductible contribution will fund the purchase of a child’s life jacket – or for $250, your gift will buy enough supplies to establish a new life jacket loaner location. We need your help to make boating safer for children.

Your contribution of any amount will make a difference to some small child. Consider making a fully tax-deductible donation today to keep our program afloat.


How the Program Works:
BoatUS Foundation accepts about 40 new sites into the Life Jacket Loaner Program during each application cycle. The group or waterfront location accepted into the program will receive 12 life jackets, as well as signs, brochures and a sign-out binder. The life jackets should be displayed in prominent location—like near a boating ramp, in a marina office, or near a fuel dock. A boating family can then check out the life jacket for a day, free of charge. At the end of the boating trip, they can return it to the same location.

If you are interested in being a life jacket loaner site or would like additional information on the program please contact the program administrator at


Life Jacket Requirements:
The U.S. Coast Guard requires all children under 13 on boats underway must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while on Federal waters. This rule does not change or supersede the existing law in states which have life jackets laws and only applies to states that have no laws. Check out the life jacket laws in your state.


Loaner Program on the Water:
Because of limited funds for safety programs in some states, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water also has a state administered life jacket loaner program. Marine patrol units from selected states are equipped with loaner life jackets that they can give to families with children who are not wearing life jackets on the water. Having free children’s vests available will not only provide immediate protection for the child, but in cases where the boater is breaking the law by not having their children in life jackets, the vessel operator will not be forced off the water for non-compliance. Your State Boating Law Administrator must request the donation of these jackets.

"Our sites loan out life jackets over 140,000 times each year," says Chris Edmonston, President of the BoatUS Foundation. "We know this popular program saves kids’ lives and keeps boating families safe."

The Foundation hopes to impact the safety of the nation’s boaters through programs like these, which directly give back to the boating public. The donated life jackets have made quite an impact on the public! If your state is interested in applying to receive free life jackets, please call or email the Foundation at (703) 823-9550 x8354 for more details.

Infant, child, youth and teen sizes available.

The Foundation provides red life jackets to loaner sites operated by BoatUS towing companies. Photo courtesy of TowBoatU.S. Scottsboro.