Honour system: The PFD loaner station at the top of the boat ramp in Sicamous is well-used. It allows people to borrow a life-jacket for their children and return it when they are finished. A similar station is being proposed for the Salmon Arm wharf and Canoe Beach.

Life-jacket loaning site on deck for city

A life-saving program that has been successful in Sicamous may be coming to Salmon Arm.

A life-saving program that has been successful in Sicamous may be coming to Salmon Arm.

At the top of the boat ramp in Sicamous stands a covered structure that, during the summer months, has several life-jackets hanging from it.

It’s a PFD (personal floatation device) Loaner Station, which proclaims, “Kids don’t float! Remember, if you’re playing in or near the water, always wear a PFD.”

Rob Sutherland and Bruce Weicker with the Shuswap Lifeboat Society, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, addressed Salmon Arm council on Nov. 9.

Sutherland said the PFD Loaner Station in Sicamous has been a real success.

“I know they’re well used,” he says. “Every day in summertime, when you go to the beach, most are gone and by the end of day are back.”

The idea is that children who are going boating or swimming who don’t have a life-jacket can borrow one for the day, on the honour system. There would be about 10 or 15 available, sized for the younger children, six and under.

“We haven’t lost any life-jackets yet, and they’ve been there for years and years,” Sutherland says of the Sicamous station.

He said his group is not looking for funding as it has applied for a BC Lottery Grant. It will supply the sign and the life-jackets, so would like the city to provide a spot for the life-jackets to hang, probably one near the wharf and one at Canoe Beach.

“It can be as simple as hanging them on the side of a building for minimal cost, or a standalone structure with a minimal roof to protect it. It could be a couple thousand dollars or a couple hundred.”

Council  was positive about the idea and will consider it during budget time, he said.

Along with one station in Sicamous and two proposed for Salmon Arm, Marine Search and Rescue would like to see one in Sorrento and one in Blind Bay in the near future.


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