COLUMBIA, S.C. - Duke Energy is partnering with Children's Trust of South Carolina to initiate a life jacket loaner program on Lake Wateree.
The program is jointly sponsored by Lake Wateree Presbyterian Church, Lake Wateree Baptist Church and Wateree Home Owners Association of Fairfield County.
Life jackets in a variety of sizes for children and adults are available at four heavily used areas on the lake -- Wateree Creek, Taylor Creek, June Creek and Colonel Creek. Visitors can check out a life jacket at no charge and then return it to the kiosk when they are finished.
The Keese family brought the program to South Carolina after the loss of their son and grandson, who drowned during a storm on Stockton Lake in Missouri in 2010. Neither was wearing a life jacket. Determined to help others avoid a similar tragedy, the Keese family has become a powerful advocate for water safety.
"I've had the pleasure of working with the Keese family since the first kiosk was installed," said Scott Jolley, public safety recreation and design project manager for Duke Energy. "It's satisfying to know that we're helping spread the message about safe boating, especially for young children."
"I can say that we are all delighted to financially support this effort to improve the safety of both residents and visitors enjoying the recreational opportunities at Lake Wateree," said Rick Noble, speaking on behalf of the three local sponsors. "Although we've been fortunate over the past 25 years to have experienced very few water safety deaths or drownings on Lake Wateree, we recognize the potential is always there."
"Even the best swimmers can be in danger under adverse circumstances," Noble added. "Providing improved access to life jackets/preservers for those who may not have them is a no-brainer. Adults can now borrow a jacket or jackets and protect themselves and their children. Wearing a life jacket is akin to wearing your seatbelt or riding in a safety seat in your car."
From 2006 to 2010, drowning was the third leading cause of death for children under age 14.
Children's Trust of South Carolina is home to Safe Kids South Carolina and leads the state in keeping children safe. A significant part of their work is preventing unintentional injuries.
"Drowning can happen at any time of year, but be especially cautious during the summer months, when drowning incidents can increase up to 89 percent," said Sue Williams, chief executive officer or Children's Trust of South Carolina. "By actively supervising children in and around open bodies of water, putting life jackets on them and giving them your undivided attention, we can prevent drownings. We applaud the residents of Lake Wateree for their excellent water safety record."
Anyone interested in bringing this program to their lake community, can contact Heidi Vaughn, Safe Kids South Carolina coordinator at Children's Trust of South Carolina, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 803-744-4029.
About Duke Energy Carolinas
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 20,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
About Children's Trust of South Carolina
Children's Trust of South Carolina is the only statewide organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting public and private prevention efforts that keep South Carolina's children safe. We work to prevent child abuse, neglect and unintentional injuries so that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a healthy, nurturing environment. Children's Trust is home to KIDS COUNT South Carolina, Safe Kids South Carolina, Prevent Child Abuse South Carolina and other programs that deliver on our mission.