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Life Jacket Loaner Program

McLane Black Lake Fire Department has partnered with the Washington State Parks Boating Program to make it easier for boating families to access life jackets and stay safe with a Life Jacket Loaner Program. McLane Black Lake Fire Department helps provide life jackets to boaters at Black Lake Boat Launch and Summit Lake.

If you discover your family doesn't have enough properly fitting life jackets on board, you can simply visit a loaner site and check out an infant, child, youth or adult life jacket for the day or the weekend - at no charge. When you're finished, you return the jackets to the same location.


You can view a detailed list of all the Washington State Life Jacket Loaner Stations.

Life jacket loaner board Black Lake.jpg

Life jackets are one of the single most effective piece of safety gear in a boat. Study after study show that if you wear your life jacket, you're more likely to survive if something goes wrong.

Boating and paddling is often a fun activity, but it's not without any risks. In Washington, many of our waterways are cold year-round. People that drown are often victims of cold-water shock. Anyone can drown regardless of age and swimming capabilities. Protect yourself by always wearing a life jacket. 

Many people assume merely having life jackets onboard is sufficient. However, accidents happen rapidly and without warning. Usually, there is not enough time to grab a life jacket, so they should always be worn.


Life Jackets Save Lives - Wear It!

Washington State Life Jacket Laws

  • All vessels (including canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards) must carry at least one properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (Personal Flotation Device or PFD) for each person on board a vessel. 

  • Children 12 years old and younger must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times when underway in a vessel less than 19 feet in length, unless in a fully enclosed area.

  • Each person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) and anyone being towed behind a boat must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket designed specifically for that activity.

  • A U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable flotation device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer. Canoes and kayaks are exempt from this requirement.

How to Properly Fit a Life Jacket

  1. Check life jacket label for the appropriate weight or chest size.
    The life jacket label will indicate the size and weight of the intended user.  Make sure the wearer is within these ranges.  Verify that the life jacket label states it is "Coast Guard approved."


  2. Put the life jacket on.
    Inspect the life jacket for wear and tear.  Warning signs include rips and missing or broken buckles or straps.


  3. Buckle all straps and tighten or zip up all zippers.
    Make sure all straps can be buckled and zippers zipped.  Don't forget the crotch strap, if there is one!


  4. Have the wearer lift their arms over head and gently lift them by the top of the life jacket arm openings.
    If the jacket rides up above their ears, it's too big.  If the straps or zippers don't close, the jacket is too small.

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