Life Jacket Loaner Program
The State Parks Boating Program provides life jackets to boaters at public locations throughout the state.
If you discover your family doesn't have enough properly fitting life jackets on board, you can simply visit a loaner site and check out an infant, child, youth or adult life jacket for the day or the weekend - at no charge. When you're finished, return the jackets to the same location. Life jacket loaner stations are located at marinas, near boat ramps and at various state parks.
Life jackets save lives. Need an extra life jacket? Borrow one for free! There are approximately 193 life jacket loaner stations statewide that are operated by various volunteer organizations, local marine law enforcement and recreational boating groups.
Washington state law requires there be at least one properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard approved, life jacket for each person on board a boat, including canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and persons being towed. Local county sheriff's departments and some police departments also have life jackets to loan. If you forgot your life jacket and you're not near a loaner site, contact them for a loaner.
Use the interactive map below to find a life jacket loaner station near you, or view or download a detailed list of all the life jacket loaner sites (PDF).
Washington State Parks Boating Program facilitates the planning, development, funding and evaluation of a statewide Life Jacket Loaner Program. The demand for new loaner sites increases every year. To help establish more sites, we are offering assistance to help others set up and manage life jacket loaner sites. We will provide U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets of various sizes. You provide the location and materials to set up a site station as well as commit to submit a response to an annual evaluation survey.
There are some groups not eligible to participate, those being ones that limit the participation of the loaner station to their membership, organization, group or club; locations that are primarily for swimming and have no boating ramps; and/or intend to rent out the life jackets instead of loaning them for free.
To get started or for more information, email Doni Thomas or, call 360-902-8832.
Nine out of ten drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. In most incidences, life jackets were on the boat, but they were not worn. Life jackets save lives.
- The best choice is the one that fits properly and is the right one for the activity.
- It needs to help keep your head above the water. If it's too big, the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small and it won't be able to keep your body afloat.
- Life jackets made for adults will not fit children.
Make sure life jackets are appropriate and fit properly by doing the following:
- Check the label to verify it is U.S. Coast Guard approved and marked with an approval number.
- Approval is shown by a stencil marking or tag. It shows the amount of flotation, the type, the size and approved activities or any limitations for use.
- Check the label to make sure it is the right size.
- Sizing is always based on your body weight and chest size.
- Check to make sure the life jacket can properly fasten/buckle up.
- The life jacket should be snug but not too tight.
- Check the fit by holding your arms straight up over your head, then
- Have a friend or family member grasp the tops of the arm openings and slowly pull up,
- Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket doesn't ride up over your chin, and
- Check to see if it works - test it in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions. This way you will know how it will feel when needed. Do the same for family members, especially children.
For more information, check out Washington's Wear IT - Life Jacket brochure (PDF).