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Disinfecting PFDs
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7/15/2020 at 9:10:38 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Disinfecting PFDs

According to the Reopening Guidance FAQs for Outdoor Recreation, loaner life jackets / personal flotation devices (PFDs) need to be sanitized between each use.

We have hundreds in our loaner programs and our ability to stay on top of disinfection between uses is very complex, resource intensive, and time consuming.  I'm wondering if anyone has found creative solutions?

7/20/2020 at 5:22:45 PM GMT
Posts: 64

This question was posed to the Oregon State Marine Board's Boating Safety Education Coordinator, MariAnn McKenzie.  Here is the reply:


"Unfortunately there is not a good answer to your question, safety vs. sanitized life jackets. Many are discussing that it is more important to have the life jackets out for use even though they cannot be sanitized after each use. Below are some guidelines and resources that were put together from Washington State for you to look at, but it will be up to your agency to make the decision to have life jackets kiosks closed or open to the public. If you decide to keep the kiosk open, one option may be to put a sign on the kiosk(s) warning people that the life jackets have not be sanitized after each use with regards to COVID, use at their own risk.

Here is information and resources to help you plan your life jacket loaner stations this summer in light of Covid-19. Thank you to Public Health Seattle and King County, Washington State Department of Health/Safe Kids Washington, Seattle Parks Aquatics, Washington State Parks Boating Program and Safe Kids Snohomish County for their assistance in identifying resources that may be helpful. We will continue to share information as updates are made at the localstate or national level.

The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control have noted viruses that behave similar to COVID-19 remain infectious on surfaces for a period of 3 to 4 days. However, factors such as temperature, humidity and ventilation can affect that time period.

The Sea Tow Foundation has provided some general cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for  cleaning life jackets.

The Life Jacket Association recommends: If you think your product has been exposed to a virus, clean as recommended by the manufacturer and then let dry in a warm, low humidity environment for at least 72 hours before reuse.


If you plan to close your life jacket loaner station:

  • The CDC has noted that time should kill the virus. However, the life jackets must be dry before being stored. Consider using gloves and a mask when removing and storing the life jackets. We have provided one example of a sign (attached) you can use to place at your empty loaner station notifying the public that the life jackets were temporarily removed for public health reasons.

If you have the resources to follow the sanitizing process and plan to loan life jackets:

  • The Life Jacket Association has recommendations about how best to clean and disinfect life jackets being used at a loaner station. Detailed instructions can be found by visiting their website.


As always, this is a good time to share information about the importance of wearing life jackets and other water safety tips.

For more information about life jacket loaner programs, visit: Seattle Children’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety website:


Washington State Parks and Recreation Boating Program Life Jacket Loaner website:"


Attached is an example sign if choosing to close the lifejacket loaner program.


Contact MariAnn for more information:

MariAnn McKenzie

Boating Safety Education Coordinator

435 Commercial St. NE #400

Salem, OR 97301

 Attached Files: 

Oregon Recreation & Park Association | PO Box #202, Lake Oswego OR 97034 | 503.534.5673
ORPA is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization