US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Conchas Rangers Exchange Junker Jackets for Custom-Fit Trend-Setters That Save Lives

CONCHAS DAM, N.M. -- Park Ranger Valerie Mavis adjusts a girl's life jacket to ensure a proper fit, Aug. 31, 2014.

CONCHAS DAM, N.M. -- Park Ranger Valerie Mavis adjusts a girl's life jacket to ensure a proper fit, Aug. 31, 2014.

CONCHAS DAM, N.M., -- Park Ranger Lauren Boyer makes sure this boy's life jacket fits properly before he goes on the lake, Aug. 31, 2014.

CONCHAS DAM, N.M., -- Park Ranger Lauren Boyer makes sure this boy's life jacket fits properly before he goes on the lake, Aug. 31, 2014.

CONCHAS DAM, N.M., -- Your heart attack will be tonight, a commercial warns. Even more likely: someone – you or a family member, perhaps - may drown during the next trip to the lake.

The 2014 summer recreation season may be winding down, but Conchas park rangers remain vigilant in their efforts to provide properly fitting life jackets to the public!

This summer brought an increase in visitation at Conchas Lake and the rangers were prepared to educate the public about how to be safe in and around water.

Throughout the season rangers have provided water safety education to the visitors of the lake and the communities surrounding Conchas Lake. Rangers talked about the importance of life jackets and how “it won’t work if you don’t wear it.”

An important part of the education process is the proper fit of a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Conchas rangers noticed this summer that many children coming to the lake didn’t have an appropriate or properly fitting life jacket.

“The rangers were adamant in providing the necessary life saving tools to the recreating public in order to reduce the risk of drowning fatalities,” said Ranger Michael Vollmer.

The Conchas project purchased 180 life jackets of various sizes in order to provide this valuable life-preserving tool to the public. Vollmer assisted in creating an exchange program at Conchas Lake that is becoming very popular with the many of the visitors. People can bring unserviceable life jackets to the ranger station and exchange them for a properly fitting serviceable life jacket.

“The Corps cannot take all the credit for this wonderful program; many of the visitors to the lake are willing to donate life jackets that no longer fit to supplement the program,” Vollmer said.

The rangers then inspect each life jacket that is donated for serviceability; once a life jacket passes the rigorous inspection process it is added to the life jacket inventory to be re-used by someone needing a life jacket.

Labor Day
The rangers remained diligent during the last major boating holiday of the 2014 recreation season, both on the water and off. Rangers staffed the Ranger Station to inspect vessels for state and federal safety equipment to ensure everyone had a safe enjoyable time on the water.

During these inspections the rangers said they were thrilled to educate visitors on the importance of wearing a life jacket, teaching parents and children alike the importance of the proper fit of each life jacket. Rangers were able to provide many people with new, properly fitting life jackets in exchange for their unsafe life jackets.

The rangers were extremely thorough on their boat patrol to ensure that boaters were being safe while boating. Ranger Nadine Carter provided many young boaters serviceable and properly fitting life jackets. These were later returned to the Ranger Station, showing the success of the loaner program at Conchas Lake. While on boat patrol, Rangers Lauren Boyer and Valerie Mavis gave an infant-size life jacket to the parents of a 9-month-old child who was wearing a life jacket that was unsafe and too large for him.

The rangers at Conchas want visitors to have a fun and memorable time when visiting any of the 420 lakes and river projects that the Corps is proud to manage. Please remember to be careful in and around the water. Boat safe, boat smart: Always wear your life jacket!

LIFE JACKETS: THEY FLOAT; YOU DON’T!