Little Rock – Wildlife officers throughout Arkansas will be looking to hand out some of the sweetest citations an angler could ask for this summer. Thanks to Sonic Drive In, AGFC wildlife officers will be armed with 10,000 special “ice cream citations” for youths on Arkansas waters when they’re caught wearing their life jackets.
According to AGFC Boating Law Administrator Stephanie Weatherington, these special tickets entitle youth who receive them to a small ice cream cone from their local Sonic restaurant.
“We’ve been able to offer this program for the last six years,” Weatherington said. “Some officers have a few already, and we’ll really ramp things up as we get closer to Independence Day weekend.”
Weatherington says adults with those kids may even get a special citation if the wildlife officer sees them leading by example.
“It’s important that everyone wears a life jacket,” Weatherington says. “Even people who think they can swim well can fall victim to drowning if they are tossed overboard far from shore or fall into the water unconscious.”
Many people drown because they fall out of a boat and are not wearing a fitted life jacket, Weatherington says.
“Some don’t believe they need one because they can swim. Others may wear one that has dry rot or is not the right size. The most important thing about riding in a boat is to wear a life jacket,” she said. “By law, anyone 12 or younger must wear a life jacket while in a boat. Also, all vessels must have at least one approved, wearable life jacket for every person on board. There must also be a throwable device on any vessel 16 feet or longer,” she explained. “We hope this will also encourage the parents to also wear their life jacket, so everyone can have great memories of a day on the water,” Weatherington added.