Katcef Brothers, Anheuser-Busch and the Sea Tow Foundation officially opened five new Annapolis-area Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stands at the Sandy Point State Park marina.
The Life Jacket Loaner Stands, which offer free life jackets to boaters who need to borrow them for a day out on the water, are sponsored by leading on-water assistance provider Sea Tow, the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation, Katcef Brothers, and Anheuser-Busch, who formed the Annapolis Boating Safety Partnership on May 16th to promote safe boating practices in area waters. The stands are made possible through a generous $5,000 donation from Anheuser-Busch and Katcef Brothers. Currently there are stands at City Dock in Annapolis, Truxtun Park in Annapolis. Each stand holds 8 life jackets which are available to anyone who needs one. Their use is on the honor system.
Yesterday, representatives from Katcef Brothers, the local distributor for Budweiser and Bud Light; Sea Tow Foundation; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; and various elected officials including State Senator John Astle, Delegate Cathy Vitale, and Annapolis Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson dedicated the latest stands.
During his remarks, Colonel George F. Johnson, Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police said that 3/4 of the boating deaths in Maryland are a result of drowning and stressed the importance of having a working life jacket for everyone. “Just last week, we rescued a boater who had been swept overboard in rough seas and was afloat for 45 minutes. He had just purchased his life vest the night before and credits it with saving his life.”
Since the vests are on the honor program, there were no details as to how many had been used; however Cassie Mabery of Katcef said that part of their commitment is to keep several spares in case some are not returned.
While Katcef Brothers is the local partner, Gail Kulp, the Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation said there are similar programs across the country including New York, Charleston and Savannah.
To use a vest, simply look for the bright yellow stands, take what you need and be sure to return it when you are finished!