Swim Safe Life Jacket Loaner Program

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Date: May 6, 2017
Contact: Joyce Umbach, 870-439-2502

toddler wearing life jacket
Life jackets save lives. Borrow one at no charge at the park.

NPS Photo

Swim Safe Life Jacket Loaner Program at Buffalo National River
Has Successful First Year
Buffalo National River, Harrison, AR – Visitors borrowed more than 89 life jackets during 2016, the first summer of the Buffalo National River Life Jacket Loaner program. The park began offering park visitors life jackets to borrow while swimming at the river in April, 2016.  
“More than one million visitors enjoy the Buffalo National River each year and most return home safe and sound. A few visits have ended in tragedy. We implemented this program to decrease the likelihood of drowning fatalities in the park. Wearing a life jacket provides time for help to arrive if you get into trouble.” said Superintendent Kevin Cheri.
When you visit the park, you may borrow a life jacket at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center, Buffalo Point Information Station, and Steel Creek Information Station.
Life Jacket Loaner Programs provide life jackets for the public to use free of charge during their visit. The goal of loaner programs is to increase the use of life jackets and to educate the public on the importance of wearing a properly fitting life jacket during all water-based activities including swimming or fishing, in addition to paddling.
This is a program for those visitors who forgot their life jacket. Visitors should not rely on this program as a sole source for their life jackets. If a life jacket is borrowed from the loaner program it should be returned the same day it is borrowed so that other visitors may use it.
Visitors paddling the river will get life jackets when renting boats from park concessioners. Boat owners should know the law and bring their own life jackets. Arkansas requires children 12 years old or younger in boats to wear a life jacket but no such regulations exist for swimming. Swim safe at the river – wear a life jacket!
Buffalo National River is a beautiful and fun place to enjoy the day, weekend or longer. But it’s not your backyard pool. The river bottom is uneven and rocky so accidents can happen. They don’t have to be fatal. People don’t float very well, but life jackets do! Inflatable pool toys, arm bands, loungers or swim noodles are not life jackets. Everyone in or near the water should wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
Visitors with questions about the program are encouraged to call Tyler Bend Visitor Center at 870-439-2502.

Last updated: May 12, 2017

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Mailing Address:

402 N. Walnut Street
Suite 136

Harrison, AR 72601


(870) 439-2502

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