In 2015 a father and two sons asked the Tyler Bend Visitor Center at the Buffalo River National Park where they could enjoy the day swimming. Park Guide Terry Traywick showed the family where they could swim and returned to his typical duties. A short time passed and he receives a call requesting help for an unresponsive 5-year-old boy on the gravel bar. After administering CPR, the child was completely unresponsive, and he passed away before medical crews could arrive.
Terry decided this child’s death was a hard lesson to learn and worked with his District Ranger and Deputy Superintendent to partner with the Sea Tow Foundation to implement the Life Jacket Loaner Program.
Exactly one year later, a father approached Terry with two boys asking where to swim. This time, he not only showed them where to go, but also provided the children properly fitted lifejackets to make their day not only fun, but safe. Terry explained that through the loaner program the lifejackets are free of charge, and can be returned at the end of the day. Terry went back to his desk and had a moment of silence for the boy who lost his life one year ago, he was thankful he had provided the safety needed for this family to enjoy their day.
Life jackets are essential not just for children, but adults. The river can put even experienced swimmers in trouble. Inflatable toys, armbands, loungers, and swim noodles will not prevent a drowning. The Sea Tow Foundation has implemented 248 Life Jacket Loaner Stands across the nation and has more than 260 organizations supporting its cause. For a list of all Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stands click here. To bring the program to your marina, dock, or visitors center, contact us at 888-276-7691.