JOHNSTON, Iowa — It is Iowa law to have a life jacket with you if you are on any kind of boating device on the water. And if you are under 12-years-old, you are required by law to be wearing a life jacket.
“Obviously we want to encourage more outdoor recreation, we want families to get out and do this but first and foremost we want them to get home safe,” Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Johnston John Schmitz said.
The city of Johnston provided 40 life jackets that are free to use while you are at Terra Park.
“You can think about laws or you can think about what’s the best idea to do when you are out on the water and I can’t imagine being out there without a life vest, they’re very important for little ones and for really old ones like me to be in the water just to have that extra protection, you hope you never need it, but you’ll have it,” City of Johnston employee Nathan Osmundson said.
So, whether you are on a canoe, kayak, paddleboard, or just fishing off the pier, these life jackets are available. The city of Johnston said the water surrounding the dock and pier is around 6 to 8 feet deep and there is not a railing around the pier so it could be easy to fall.
The life jacket stations were put up by the Johnston Rotary Club, a community service-oriented group. They said the station and the life jackets cost $2,000 and it was funded in part by a grant from their national chapter as well as donations from the community. Parents in the community said the station puts their minds at ease.
“I have three daughters and one especially wily five-year-old who when I come here we like to put a life vest on her because she just doesn’t, you know, always testing her edges and the edges of the pier so getting her to put one no is a little bit of a peace of mind,” Osmundson said.
The city of Johnston wants everyone to enjoy Terra Park safely at any time of the year.
“Certainly, the colder the water, the more reason to wear a life jacket because if the water gets real cold it’s very difficult to be able to swim, even those people that know how to swim well,” Schmitz said.
The life jacket station will be open through the colder months, but they will put the life jackets in storage once there is ice on the water.