Life-jacket loaner program at Conway Marina focuses on brain safety initiative

Grand Strand

With boating season in high gear, one Conway club is helping by creating one of only two life jacket loaner programs along the Grand Strand. Brain safety is one thing the club’s President-elect says they want to help with this project.

“You’re going to have your friends come in from out of town, they’re going to want to go on the boat with you,” said Katie Finklea, the president-elect of the Pilot Club of Conway. “You don’t have an extra life jacket for them, so yeah, you can come grab one. Make sure it fits them, throw it on the boat, use it and then bring it back.”

The Pilot Club of Conway launched a life jacket loaner program, and they say they want to focus on brain safety, as part of an international initiative.

“We had a member who had seen this somewhere else, and said hey, this is a great idea, we need to do this,” said Finklea.

But how can a boating accident affect your brain?

“Drowning is one of the huge things. Yes, that affects your lungs, but ultimately, it can affect your brain as well, and also if you fall out of a boat, get hit, that’s your brain most likely if you get hit in the head,” said Finklea.

There’s an honor system, and Finklea says when people don’t return their life jackets is when they must dip into donations to replace them.

“Some days you come down here and there aren’t any life jackets,” she said.

Finklea says making sure your brain is safe in the river, ocean or on a boat is the important part of the initiative.

“Life jackets are pretty bright in color, so that helps when, if there is an accident and someone is looking for you, that they’re looking for that bright life jacket, to be able to pick you out among the black water, or the ocean water, or the trees, or the limbs, or anything like that,” she said.

Finklea says donations help the club to always have a batch of life jackets out at the Conway Marina. Donations can be made by contacting Kris with the Pilot Club at (843) 997-5457.

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