The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park, in conjunction with the Coalition launched the “Kids Don’t Float, Lifejackets Do!” lifejacket loaner program on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, 11135 Gulfshore Dr., Naples, FL.
Modeled after the “Kids Don’t Float – Give Them Something That Does” initiative, adopted in Alaska in 1997, the program will place loaner life jackets at two area beaches in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Twenty life jackets are available on racks at 2 areas of the beach – four adult sizes, four youth sizes, five child sizes, and seven infant sizes. All sizes are calculated by weight. Adult and youth also incorporate chest size.
“I am thrilled that the Life Jacket Loaner Program has made its way to the Delnor-Wiggins State Park today. This effort has truly been the epitome of a community partnership, from everyone at the NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition, Collier County Parks & Recreation, the City of Naples, Florida Division of Recreation and Parks, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas, Sprigg Yacht Consulting, Collier County Marine Industry Board, West Marine and 21st Century Oncology. It is especially exciting to be able to attend the Inaugural event Thursday and witness firsthand the opening of the two brand new Life Jacket stands. A sobering statistic is that Florida leads the nation when it comes to drowning deaths among children and there is not a doubt in my mind that this program will help to reverse that trend.” Stated Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples, FL).
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 96 will check monthly the condition of the lifejackets. If any lifejackets are missing or in disrepair, they will be replaced.
The mission of the NCH Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition is to achieve and sustain a zero drowning rate for children in Collier County. This ambitious and cooperative program will provide another layer of protection against drowning, the leading killer of children one to four years of age in Collier County.
The life jacket loaner program is already serving the 10 locations in Collier County: Sugden Park, Clam Pass, Vanderbilt Beach, South Marco Island, Tigertail Beach, the historic Naples Pier, the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Lowdermilk Park, Barefoot Beach, and Gulf Shore Blvd Beach.
Special thanks to the following people and agencies for helping us to make this program possible:
Representative Kathleen Passidomo,
Jesse Purdon (Congressional Aide – Congressman Curt Clawson)
Robert Steiger, Park Manager, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Kelly and Steve Sprigg – Sprigg Yacht Consulting
Tom Vizioli – U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 96
Lee & Penny Anderson
Chip & Lynne Shotwell
Charlie & Nancy Wesley
George & Kathy Bishop
Tom & Nancy Cooper
Christopher & Elizabeth Carrere
Molly’s Marine Service
SeaTech Marine Electronics
Mikel & Keely Miller
James & Cindy Coyle & Children
Jerry & Penny Briant
Ken & Mary Nichols
Zack & Dylan Chappell
Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club
Bill & Linda Halbritter
Ellis & Carrie Summers
Seidensticker & San Filippo, LLC Attorneys at Law
93, 95,96 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla
Jim Bandy of West Marine
Jason Parker of Autotran, Inc.
Steve Sherman of Sew Shore Embroidery & Screen Printing
George Puente of Accent Signs
21st Century Oncology.