If you're heading out on the lake, river, or ocean and you don't have enough life jackets for everyone, you'll want to stop by the Bangor Fire Department to borrow a few.

Safe Kids Maine has partnered with Bangor's firefighters to offer a free life jacket loaner program. By law, in the state of Maine, every person in a water vessel must have a USCG-approved, wearable life jacket. But that can be challenging when you have family visit, or your child wants to bring a friend on an outing.

So, in the spirit of keeping everyone safe, this new loaner program is offering a chance to borrow life jackets for free. All you have to do is stop by the Bangor Fire Department and sign out an infant, child, youth, or adult life jacket for the day or the weekend. When you've finished using it for the day, just drop it off at the same location. Safe Kids Maine has made 12 life jackets available for loan, so it's on a first-come-first-served basis. That's going to help make hundreds of kids safer on Maine's waterways this summer.

The Maine Warden Service recommends wearing the life jacket, rather than just keeping it near you in the boat. Panic sets in fast when you hit the water, and you could drown before you locate that jacket in the water. Most people who die in boating accidents in Maine were not wearing their life jackets. While the older models can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, the newer, inflatable models are nearly undetectable while you're wearing them. But, once you hit the water, they'll inflate and keep you afloat.

Find more information about this program through the Safe Kids Maine website. And learn more about boating safety on the U.S. Coast Guard website.

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