According to AGFC Boating Law Administrator Stephanie Weatherington, officers will be issuing the special citations that do not require a court hearing, but entitle the youth to a small ice cream cone from Sonic. Officers will be writing the citations, as long as supplies of the tickets last, while making contact with boaters on Arkansas's lakes, rivers and streams.
Weatherington said she hopes the program will reinforce the need to wear life jackets for personal safety. "We feel this will motivate kids to do the right thing and put on their life jackets," said Weatherington. "We are very excited to emphasize how important it is to wear life jackets and it's also the law," she added.
Many people drown because they fall out of a boat and are not wearing a fitted life jacket, Weatherington says.
"Some don't believe they need one because they can swim. Others may wear one that has dry rot or is not the right size. The most important thing about riding in a boat is to wear a life jacket," she said. "By law, anyone 12 or younger must wear a life jacket while in a boat. Also, all vessels must have at least one approved life jacket for every person on board. There must also be a throwable device on any vessel 16 feet or longer," she explained. "We hope this will also encourage the parents to also wear their life jacket," Weatherington added.