Buffalo River’s Life Jacket Loaner Program Is Well Received

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HARRISON (KFSM) — The Buffalo National River Life Jacket Loaner program is deemed a success.
In 2016, visitors borrowed more than 89 life jackets during the first summer of the program, which began in April. 
“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,” said Superintendent Kevin Cheri. “Wearing a life jacket provides time for help to arrive if you get into trouble.”
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.
The program provides 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, according to a press release.
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.
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 the river bottom is uneven and rocky so accidents can happen. Everyone in or near the water should wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, according to the press release.
Visitors with questions about the program are encouraged to call Tyler Bend Visitor Center at 870-439-2502.