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Free life jackets available at Boise ponds this summer

Life jackets are available to borrow at Idaho River Sports and loaner stations at Quinn's Pond beach and the children's beach area at Esther Simplot Park.

BOISE, Idaho — Free life jackets will be available again this summer at ponds in the City of Trees, Boise Parks and Recreation announced Tuesday. 

A community partnership between the St. Luke's Health System, Boise Fire Department, Idaho River Sports and Boise Parks and Rec gives children and families an opportunity to receive a life jacket and learn about water safety.

Life jackets are available at Idaho River Sports and loaner stations at Quinn's Pond beach and the children's beach area at Esther Simplot Park. All life jackets provided by the Boise partnership are U.S. Coast Guard approved.

The program is returning in 2022 after a $3,000 donation from the St. Luke's Health system. Back in 2018, St. Luke's awarded its first grant to the City of Boise to purchase the life jackets for park visitors. 

"Providing access to free life jackets for anyone swimming at Quinn's Pond or Esther Simplot Park is an important part of our mission to encourage safe recreation each summer," Boise Parks and Recreation Director, Doug Holloway said. "We're grateful for the support of St. Luke's and all of the community partners who continue to make this a priority for our residents and visitors."

Boise Parks and Rec asks anyone who takes advantage of the program to return the life jackets to the loaner stations or Idaho River Sports after borrowing them for swimming. Life jackets are available for children and adults. 

"The Boise Fire Department highly encourages the use of life jackets and all other personal protective equipment as it relates to water recreation, specifically in the Boise River," Boise Fire Special Operations Division Chief, Paul Roberts said. "The river and other bodies of water often appear calm and non-threatening, but things can change rapidly causing a bad outcome when not wearing a life jacket. This program is important because it works directly to prevent that from happening."

The St. Luke's Children's Pediatric trauma team cares for children involved in water-related accidents each year. Drowning can happen within one minute in water less than two inches in depth, according to Tuesday's news release.

"We want summer water activities to be safe for people of all ages. We are hopeful that these life jackets, together with close supervision from undistracted adults, will improve the safety of our children around any type of water," St. Luke's Children's System Medical Director, Dr. Kenny Bramwell said. "Using a layered approach to water safety is ideal – undistracted adult water watchers, properly worn life jackets, and equipping kids with swimming lessons, can all go a long way for safer swimming."

The City of Boise's list of water safety tips is available by clicking here.

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