Loaner life jackets now available at St. Johns County boat ramps

The Palm Valley boat launch is busy on Saturdays as boats cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway.

“There are a lot of boaters passing by, most of them being respectful,” Daniel Butler said.

To make sure people stay safe on the water, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Sea Tow Foundation lend life vests at boat launches throughout the county.

Vests are available at:

  • Butler Park West

  • Doug Crane Park North and South

  • Vilano boat ramp

  • Usina boat ramp

  • Palm Valley Boat Ramp

  • Riverdale boat ramp

  • Palmo Cove boat ramp

  • Trout Creek Park

Jay Hunt said the vests could benefit him and his family.

“I think they’re very handy as I have kids and teach them how to fish. For me, in particular, I can’t swim, so that makes sense,” Hunt said.

Authorities hope the loaned life jackets will prevent tragedies on the water.

In February, the body of 16-year-old Riley Texiera was found after her canoe overturned in Julington Creek. Officials said he was not wearing a life jacket.

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“You never know, something could happen, you could fall in. If you use it, it could save your life,” Hunt said.

Hunt said he was grateful to have the extra layer of protection nearby.

Officials said that once you’re done using the loaner lifejacket, simply return it to the boat launch you borrowed it from.

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