Superior ambassadors celebrated the opening of the city's boat launches Friday, May 3, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the "Kids Don't Float" life jacket program.
The program houses loaner life jackets for the public in wooden stations at Loon's Foot Landing and Arrowhead Pier. Anyone one can borrow a life jacket from the station and return it when they're done.
"We know how busy it can be loading up for a trip and getting all the things packed that you need," said 2nd District City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle, who spearheaded the project. "The last thing you want to do is get down here and realize you don't have a life jacket. I'm proud to be part of an initiative that says, 'We've got you covered.'"
According to 2017 statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 88 percent of fatal boating accident victims in the state were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
Van Sickle borrowed the idea for "Kids Don't Float" from her home state of Alaska, where life jacket loaner boxes can be found at every boat launch. Local businesses and the Superior police and fire departments donated materials and funds. Apprentices with Carpenters Local 361 donated the labor.
The work was finished in October.
"We got them in the ground, we got them fully stocked and it was just in time to lock them up," Van Sickle said.
Friday's ceremony was a chance to remind boaters about the life jacket loaner stations and solicit for donations.
"I hope when folks are cleaning out their campers and their cabins and their garages, they think of this program and donate their gently used life jackets to us," Van Sickle said.
Although "Kids Don't Float" is targeted at keeping children safe, life jackets of all sizes are needed. Donors can put them directly in the stations.
Superior Mayor Jim Paine took the opportunity to proclaim the start of summer in the city, and to highlight a program, launched in 2016, where community partners volunteer to help care for city parks, gardens, trails and boat landings by adopting them. It involves a two-year commitment and at least three annual cleanups.
"This is an opportunity to really enhance what our department is able to do," Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Linda Cadotte said.
Tom Acton and his Re/Max Results team adopted Loon's Foot Landing this spring.
Acton is down at the landing at least once a week. The day before the ribbon-cutting, the agent and his team picked up bags of garbage from the site.
"The place, it looks really beautiful today," Acton said. "This is the best it's looked in a long time."
The city has three gardens, two trail sections and three parks available for adoption. Visit ci.superior.wi.us/212/Adopt-Programs or call 715-395-7200 for more information.