BoatUS Provides Child/Teen Life Jackets | Quimby's Cruising Guide

Having right-sized life jackets for kids at summer camps, schools and non-profit organizations is critical for safe on-the-water fun. The BoatUS Foundation has a solution that is affordable and open to groups offering programming such as educational boat trips, fishing trips, or canoe and kayak excursions.

The new Kids Afloat Program offers kid/teen-sized, vest-style life jackets for just $5 each. However, supplies are limited and groups need to apply online at by February 28. The Foundation will then choose those applications that best match program guidelines and post them its website and Facebook page for public voting in the spring. Those with the most votes will have the opportunity to purchase the deeply discounted life jackets.

The life jackets are Type-II and Type-III vests — the most comfortable non-inflating type available today — and normally retail for about $30 each. Applicants are allowed to request up to a total of 50 life jackets in infant, child, youth and teen sizes.

Said BoatUS Foundation Outreach Manager Alanna Keating, “Over the years we’ve received many requests from groups desperately seeking life jackets. These programs give kids a chance to experience being on the water and at the same time educate them on the importance of life jacket wear. We also hope that by involving the public in selecting the sites that receive the jackets, it will help promote these programs in their own communities.”

Groups that don’t currently include safe and clean boating education may also apply for Kids Afloat if they commit to adding these topics to their program. “Our ultimate goal is to see these kinds of educational programs grow — and keep kids safe while they’re participating in them,” said Keating.