Stay Safe On The Water By Wearing Your Life Jacket

Warmer weather means many of us are planning a boating, kayaking, or rafting adventure!  We want you to have fun, AND be safe. While you are out on the water, please be sure to wear a life jacket, no matter how well  you can swim!

Accidents on the water can happen fast. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 79% of recreational boating fatalities in 2019, and that 86% of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. In Oregon, 17 out of 27 fatality victims in 2020 were not wearing a life jacket.

That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water. Worry less when you Wear It!

Some while back,  Corson & Johnson handled a case for the family of a man who died on a guided fishing trip because his outfitter didn’t have the equipment or the training to save him. We took this case beyond the courtroom to help pass better  water safety laws.

Since 2010,  all Oregon river passengers must wear a properly secured life jacket in sections of water rated Class III or higher, which includes the section of river like the one our client was on at the time of his drowning death.

The simple practice of wearing a life jacket could save a life. It is this knowledge that prompts Corson & Johnson to contribute to the McKenzie River Life Jacket Lending Program, which offers the free loaner use of life jackets to children and adults who would otherwise be without one for the day.

The McKenzie Life Jacket Lending Program is simple: you pick up a life jacket, leave your name, and return it by the end of the day.  This program, operated by McKenzie Fire and Rescue, promotes water safety and Personal Flotation Device (PFD) use at all times on the river. USCG Approved Type II or III Life jackets in all sizes are available for the day at the following locations along the McKenzie:

  • Riverview Market | 35286 Camp Creek Rd, Springfield | 541-747-0321
  • Mather’s Market | 38477 McKenzie Hwy, Springfield | 541-726-8570
  • McKenzie Feed & Tackle | 39355 McKenzie Hwy, Walterville | 541-741-0191
  • Leaburg Country Store | 42840 McKenzie Hwy, Leaburg | 541-896-0500
  • Vida Community Market (Everyone’s Market) | 45602 McKenzie Hwy, Vida | 541-896-3261

All jackets are collected, cleaned, sanitized, fabric protected and stored each fall. With the opening of fishing season in April the jackets are distributed to participating businesses.

The life jackets are lent on an honor system.  Please return them when you are finished on the river so others can use them too.

For other life jacket lending programs in Oregon, click the link below to see a map of locations: