Loaner Life Vest Program in the Poconos

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- Smithfield Beach near Marshalls Creek was buzzing with people spending the day on the water.

A family from New York City was waiting to take a canoe ride on the Delaware River.

"We are going to go canoeing and going to try and enjoy nature," said Geovanny Prospel, New York City.

While they were waiting, they noticed a new life jacket stand. The rack of life preservers is part of a new National Park Service safety initiative called the "Life Jacket Loaner Program."

"I think it's very important. It will save a life. I mean kids can, you can take your eyes off your kid for two or three seconds and they can drown," said Prospel.

The program began earlier this month. These vests are free for children who come to the beach.

The life jacket loaner program works like this: anyone with a small child who might need to use one can come and take it. The program works on the honor system so once you are done, you have to put it back.

"If you don't know how to swim, you might sink. These are important for canoeing because just in case something really bad happens and you are in the water you really want to be safe and afloat so you can get back in the boat," said 12-year-old Enrique Prospel.

A family from Maryland had plenty of little ones near the water.

Earl Williams believes this program will save lives.

"I think more places need to do it. It's a major thing and it's one of the best things you can do to prevent a drowning," said Williams.

The life jacket loaner racks can be found at all three beaches within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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