Open water drownings most often occur within a few feet of safety. Most drowning victims had a life jacket available and chose not to wear it.
Ryan Thomas was an active 21-year-old who knew how to swim. He was an experienced boater. But one warm October day, Ryan drowned 20 feet from the dock. Investigations could not conclude what caused Ryan to drown. The only thing his family knows is that he might not have lost his life if he had worn a life jacket.
The DPCA has partnered with the Ryan Thomas Foundation to collaborate with other state and local entities to establish life jacket loaner stations at several lakes and rivers in Arizona. The stations will be located near the dock of each lake and will allow boaters to use a life vest from the loaner station and return it at the end of the day. The stations will not only provide life vest to those who do not have them, it will also serve as a reminder for all individuals to put their life vest on.