Loaner life vests now available at St. Johns County area boat ramps

Change comes after 16-year-old drowns when canoe overturns in Julington Creek

To make sure people stay safe on the water, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Sea Tow Foundation are providing loaner life vests at boat ramps throughout the county.

The Palm Valley Boat Ramp is busy on Saturday as boats cruise up and down the Intracoastal Waterway.

“It’s a lot of boaters coming through, most of them being respectful,” said Daniel Butler.

To make sure people stay safe on the water, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Sea Tow Foundation are providing loaner life vests at boat ramps throughout the county.

The vests are available at:

  • Butler Park West
  • Doug Crane Park North and South
  • Vilano Boat Ramp
  • Usina Boat Ramp
  • Palm Valley Boat Ramp
  • Riverdale Boat Ramp
  • Palmo Cove Boat Ramp
  • Trout Creek Park

Jay Hunt said the vests can benefit him and his family.

“I think they’re very convenient seeing how I have kids and I’m teaching them how to fish. For me, especially, I can’t swim so it makes sense,” Hunt said.

Authorities are hoping the loaner life vests will prevent tragedies on the water.

In February, 16-year-old Riley Texiera’s body was found after his canoe overturned in Julington Creek. Officials said he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

“You never know, something might happen, you might fall in. If you use it, it could save your life,” said Hunt.

Hunt said he is grateful to have the extra layer of protection nearby.

Officials said once you’re done using the loaner life vest, just return it to the boat ramp you borrowed it from.