Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls loans free life jackets to public

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Wearing a life jacket on the water at all times is critical, but one size sometimes doesn’t fit all. 

“The state law requires that it doesn’t matter what age you are that you have to have a wearable life jacket that fits so even if there are infant life jackets or you have a 6-month-old on the boat with you there are infant life jackets that needs to be with that or if you’re 90 years old it has to be one that fits,” Jeremy Rakowicz , district supervisor of the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, said.

That is why Steven Dahlmeier, a certified kayak instructor at The Outdoor Campus, teaches classes that include the proper fit of a life jacket.

“We want to get to people and let them know that there are things out there that are comfortable, some of the life jackets are not made for paddling and so if you are in a kayak they are going to be uncomfortable which is going to get people to not want to wear them,” Steven Dahlmeier , ACA Certified Kayak instructor, said.

Game, Fish, and Parks at The Outdoor Campus provides life jackets in all different sizes to rent out, no cost.

“We want to provide that opportunity that if somebody wants to go out on the water and maybe they don’t have the funds to go purchase a life jacket or just don’t have time to go get one, they can check one out from here for free and so they can get on the water and be safe. It’s extremely important,” Rakowicz said.

A simple step that no one should forget.

“Just like you wear a seatbelt when you get into your car, put your life jacket on when you get into your kayak and just make it habit and try to encourage the other folks that are out paddling with you to do the same,” Dahlmeier said.

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