Buchanan Opens Life Jacket Stand

Buchanan opens life jacket stand

Life jackets are free to use

By Irisha Jones – Reporter

BUCHANAN, Va. – Boating is the way many people usually spend their time over the Memorial Day Weekend.

The town of Buchanan is taking the extra steps for when, and if, you decide to get in the deep waters of the James River.

The town says the James River is one of the busiest places for the summer, that’s why a grant is helping to provide more life jackets for water safety.

One by one, town officials hung up yellow life jackets to officially open their new Life Jacket Loaner Stand. A new grant from the Sea Tow Foundation is helping them to replenish life jackets for all to use.

The foundation is dedicated to promoting safe boating practices. One way it does that is through its Life Jacket Loaner Program.

“The vest was so popular last year that none of them came back. So we went back to the Sea Tow Foundation and told them about the situation and asked for more,” said town manager Mary Zirkle-Buchanan.

As one of the most popular sites for the Upper James River Water Trail, keeping people safe is first priority.

“The life jacket is the No. 1 piece of safety equipment anytime you get in the water. Cause other things can happen,” said Buchanan Volunteer Fire Company Chief Craig Bryant.

The fire company has several boats and equipment to use during a water rescue. Bryant said county-wide, there’s more than 10 firefighters trained for water rescue.

“It’s about training, it’s about deciding. It’s it safe enough to get in the water or do we have the equipment and expertise to get in the water,” said Bryant.

John Mays, with Twin River Outfitters, rents boats to the public. Memorial Day weekend is usually the busiest time, but because of the high water levels at the James, they’re encouraging people to stay out of the water.

“We are not coming to be open or calling in my staff. You really need to now what you are doing,” said Mays.

The life jackets are free to use, the town just asks people to return them when they’re finished.

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