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Emilie Springer: 'Kids Don't Float;' Statewide Program Began in Homer

Emilie Springer
Kids learn water safety with first-hand experience.

In early 1996, the Homer Fire Department, with a grant from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, collaborated with Homer Safe Kids, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Homer School District to establish 15 life jacket loaner stations in communities around Kachemak Bay.

This week’s story is with Anna Borland-Ivy, local marine safety expert. The inspiration for this talk was through the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Migrant Education program and the start of two month long courses they have for local students: 1) general water safety for K-6 kids and 2) “packrafting 101,” a course for grades 7 and 8 that will culminate in an overnight trip in the Swanson River some time in May. This year, because of COVID, as you’ll hear, Anna is not teaching the course but does have a ton of personal experience in marine safety education and commercial fisheries, in general. What you’ll also hear is again, the amount of community networking available for boaters in Homer and statewide for access to marine safety equipment.