- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is aiming to get more people in life jackets by installing distribution kiosks at popular swimming and boating locations.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (http://wrtnews.co/1SnfaYl ) reports that the plan is part of the agency’s Kids Don’t Float Program. According to the agency’s website, more than 100 boating fatalities occurred in Wisconsin between 2008 and 2014. A report covering the 2014 boating season says victims in all eight reported incidents were not wearing life jackets.

The most recent kiosk was installed Friday near the Lake Wazeecha boat landing in Wisconsin Rapids. Kids Don’t Float hopes to build between 15 and 20 new kiosks in Wisconsin in 2015, including stations at Lake Dexterville and the Lower Wisconsin River.

“If (someone) forgot their life jackets, they can go in and get a life jacket, use it free of charge; we just ask that they put it back,” said Korey Trowbridge, warden supervisor at the agency. “The idea is providing a safe boating opportunity and preventing drownings,”

The agency has partnered with the Wood County Parks Department, Aspirus Riverview Hospital and Safe Kids Wood County to provide the jackets.

Partners of the program will check the stations frequently to discourage theft. The jackets also have large letters on the back of each identifying them as belonging to the agency.

The kiosks will remain available through Labor Day weekend or later.

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Information from: Daily Tribune Media, http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com

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