A Life Jacket Station at Lake Lanier Olympic Park. It has a sign held by two wooden posts with a slight roof and hooks on the posts that hold the life jackets.

Life jacket loaner station at Lake Lanier Olympic Park

Don’t toss those life jackets your kids have outgrown. Donate them to the Corps of Engineers and its Friends of Lake Lanier group to stock free life-jacket loaner stations around the lake.

“Your donation could just save a life,” said Steve Cahn, park ranger and liaison with Friends of Lake Lanier. “Each year, we depend on donations to keep the lake’s 32 life jacket loaner stations stocked so that people who may not know how to swim can use them.”

This year Newell Brands made a donation of adult life jackets to the South Atlantic Division to be used among the division’s various projects in the Southeast. Lake Lanier received 300 brand-new life jackets.

“The Newell donation is significant for us at Lanier, and we appreciate Newell for its generosity,” he said. “However, we are still in need of baby, toddler, children and youth sizes before the lake season begins.”

Each donated life jacket is cleaned and inspected before it is accepted. Friends of Lake Lanier volunteers check for tears, loose straps and other items that may not be suitable for use.

“Friends of Lake Lanier has been instrumental in our lifejacket loaner station program,” Cahn said. “In addition to inspections, they keep all the stations stocked through the end of the season.”

Friends of Lake Lanier interfaced with local Eagle Scouts who built new stations or rehabilitated existing ones using standard plans provided by the Corps of Engineers.

The Lake Lanier Association provided loaner stations to 11 non-Corps of Engineers’ swim beaches. The association is also collecting all sizes of life jackets for the 2024 season.

“Since 2019, we have grown the number of life jacket loaner stations from 14 to 32,” Cahn said. “We know the loaners are helping because we continue to restock them as they’re being used. We don’t mind if people who need them use them; that’s what they’re for.

“All these groups work together for the common goal of saving lives on Lake Lanier. Making life jackets available all season can really make a difference.”

New and gently used life jackets may be donated at:

  • Bald Ridge Marina
  • Gainesville Marina
  • Hideaway Bay Marina
  • Lanier Project Management Office.

Donations of adult and children’s life jackets may be made at any time at any of these locations.

For more info, visit www.facebook.com/friendsoflakelanier.

Photos: by Vicki Hope