Loaner life jackets could be coming to Horry County boat landings

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – At a few boat landings in Georgetown there are life jackets boaters can use for free and then return them when they’re finished. This honor system was first implemented last year and Georgetown officials say it worked well. Now Horry County officials want to try something similar.

Hundreds of people are in and out of the boat ramps all summer long and many people forget enough life jackets for everyone on the boat. With this loaner station, anyone can grab a jacket, enjoy a day on the water and then put it back when they come back to the dock.

This idea has worked well in Georgetown County. Last year there were around 40 life jackets at two different landings. At the end of summer, every single jacket was accounted for.

Horry County officials are pushing to do the same thing. Councilman Johnny Vaught wants life jackets at ten different Horry County landings. He says the cost would only be around $5,000 and it creates a safety net for boaters.

An operations officer with the coast guard said having the stations in Georgetown saved them from a lot of unnecessary work.

“If we come on board and they didn’t have enough life jackets, we cannot allow them to continue on. We have to escort them back to the boat ramp and the reason why we escort them back is if something were to happen to them, we’re there to help out for the safety of the people,” said Greg Caddell.

Vaught says he hopes to have life jackets at ten Horry County boat landings by June.

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