In order to create a clear, consistent and fair policy the Mendon Parks Department does not allow ANY flotation device at the Mendon Town Beach other than Coast Guard Approved lifejackets. It is our position that flotation devices encourage unsafe behavior, create a false sense of security, and generally increase risks to non-swimmers.
Unapproved flotation devices are NOT meant for lifesaving and are simply toys. They are often cheaply made and may fail. Coast Guard approved devices are specifically designed and tested to ensure safety. A Coast Guard approved type I life jacket is designed to keep an incapacitated person's head and face up out of the water.
An unapproved devices can slide off, pop, or float a child face down. Water wings can actually slide off and even trap a drowning child underwater. With any device a child can easily float away and into deep water.
We do allow "Puddle Jumper" type PFD's as long as they are Coast Guard Approved. These devices differ from simple water wings by having the 2 arm bands connected across the back to prevent them from slipping off.
Please watch this video to see an example of the dangers of a non-swimmer using an inflatable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sFuULOY5ik
More Info from the USCG: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/pfdselection.asp#status
If you child is wearing a lifejacket, please be sure that the device is properly sized and adjusted before they enter the water.
Please view this video for more information on properly fitting a lifejacket. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D63ajqQki7Y
Lifejackets/PFD's are NOT allowed at the far dock and children wearing them should be under the direct supervision of an adult.