Published: May 29, 2014 4:47 PM EDT
Updated: May 30, 2014 2:06 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A Life Jacket Loaner program opens at 9:00 a.m. Friday, at the gas docks of the Cape Coral Yacht Club, through a partnership with Safe Kids Lee and Collier Counties, Sea Tow Fort Myers, the Sea Tow Foundation and the Boathouse Restaurant.

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County encourages use of a life jacket by anyone without adequate swim skills when in and around the water.

This Life Jacket Loaner Station is the first of six stations to be located throughout Lee County by the end of June for boaters and swimmers to prevent the tragedy of drowning.

Sea Tow Fort Myers is also beginning a Life Jacket Donation Campaign at their office, 3725 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, to help sustain the loaner stations and assist community members in need of a life jacket to safely enjoy the many aquatic recreational opportunities Lee County has.

“You can donate an existing life jacket to the Sea Tow Fort Myers office and in return donate them to our local community,” said Heather O’Brien, manager. “We would like to help our community by starting a donation center to help as many as we can.”

Life jackets are required to be worn by all children under 6 years old when in a boat in Florida waters. Life jackets are recommended to be worn by everyone in a boat.

You can also donate new or gently used life jackets to Sea Tow Foundation at 3725 Del Prado Blvd.

For more information go to www.floridahealth.gov/alternatesites/waterprooffl.