"Kids Don't Float" is the perfect catch phrase for a new life jacket loaner program I stumbled upon one day last week.
I drove down to the boat launch on the west end of Clinton Street. There I saw a large sign on a kiosk that caught my eye.
The sign read: "Kids Don't Float - Give Them Something That Does - Life Jacket Loaner Station."
A smaller sign on the cover of a large bin read: "Please return life jackets to this station when finished with them. If you could also hang wet jackets on the hooks and place dry jackets in the box, it would be truly appreciated - Thank You."
I opened the lid to the box and saw several life jackets stacked inside. They all were in excellent shape. There were several with "DNR loaner life jacket" printed on them, but other types, too. I took a couple of photos and closed the lid. Then I noticed the large hooks on each side of the kiosk, obviously for any wet life jackets.
Now, everyone knows I certainly don't agree with everything the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does, but this program is a real gem.
While most responsible boat owners carry plenty of life jackets, sometimes they may forget kids' jackets. Rather than returning home to retrieve them or buying more, they can borrow the ones the DNR and supporting sponsors provide.
I often notice kids, not accompanied by an adult, fishing from shore or the boat launch docks during the summer. Thanks to the DNR and the City of Parks, Recreation and Forestry's Safe Kids Coulee Region program, these unchaperoned kids could, AND SHOULD, take advantage of the life jacket loaner program.
I tip my cap to the DNR and others who developed this program.