CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In conjunction with Duke Energy, and sponsored by the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission, a life jacket loaner program has been initiated on Mountain Island Lake.
A limited number of life jackets in a variety of sizes are available for temporary use at the Riverbend and Neck Road boating access areas. Visitors can check out a life jacket at no charge and then return it to the kiosk when done.
The free use of life jackets at lake access areas is the brainchild of Craig Keese, whose son and grandson drowned during a storm on Stockton Lake in Missouri in 2010. Neither was wearing a life jacket.
Determined to help other families avoid a similar tragedy, the Keese family started a foundation to provide free use of life jackets at lake access areas.
They began a life jacket loaner program at several Missouri lakes.
When the family relocated to South Carolina, they initiated the program there as well.
Now there are two kiosks on Mountain Island Lake.
The Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission paid for the kiosks and life jackets, and Duke Energy paid for and supervised the installation.
"A primary mission of the Marine Commission is to promote safety on Mountain Island Lake," said commission Chairman Kari Lanning, who lost her husband and brother-in-law in a boating accident in 2005. "Boating Safety Week is important for drawing attention to the importance of wearing life jackets, which would have saved my husband and his brother, and to learning and following other safe boating practices. We hope this life jacket loaner program will help keep others safe."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 through 4, and three children die every day in the U.S. as a result of drowning.
"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."
For more information on National Boating Safety Week, visit http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/
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 the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission
The Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission is comprised of seven citizens appointed from Gaston, Lincoln and Mecklenburg Counties. The Marine Commission strives to preserve and protect water quality, property and wildlife, and to promote public safety on Mountain Island Lake. More information is available at: www.marinecommission.com