The Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation’s (ECFF) first “Swap Your Life Jackets for Emily” event was held on May 22 at the Innis Arden Cottage at Tod’s Point, kicking off National Safe Boating Week in Greenwich. Over 175 new coast guard approved ECFF vests were swapped and given out to boat owners, water sports enthusiasts and the Greenwich Police Marine Division. The older, swapped life jackets were collected by Sea Tow to be recycled into new vests.
Founded in 2014, ECFF provides funding to advance education, advocacy and awareness of boating and water sports safety for adults and children, throughout Connecticut and nationwide. The foundation was created by Pam and Joe Fedorko to honor their 16-year old daughter Emily, who tragically lost her life in 2014, during a water tubing accident on Long Island Sound. “From the start of the foundation, a main area of focus has been to make sure boaters have the right life jacket protection. It’s not a protective device if it’s not worn,” said Joe Fedorko. “The orange life vests are a requirement and serve a great importance in an emergency, however, with today’s technology we have much better options. Thanks to a great turnout at the recent Life Jacket Swap event we were able to outfit so many people with the protective gear they need to safely and responsibly enjoy the water and boating season ahead!”
In addition to the Life Jacket Swap and also as part of National Safe Boating Week this year, the Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation helped raise awareness of life jacket use on “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” throughout the town of Greenwich. First Selectman Fred Camillo wore a life jacket at Town Hall, several of Emily’s past teachers and staff at Eastern Middle School were photographed in life vests and ECFF board member Gary Dell’Abate wore a life jacket to work as well.
The Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation also announced their partnership with the CT Environmental Conservation Police, to provide safety awareness this upcoming boating season by educating the public on the importance of having a life jacket.
“ECFF graciously provided us with multiple life jackets in a variety of sizes for the general public for this season on Candlewood Lake,” said Officer Patrick Kiely. “The goal of this partnership is to educate the boating community on the importance of not only having a life jacket while underway but to have the appropriate life jacket depending on the type of water activity.”
This summer Officer Kiely and fellow officers will be increasing boater safety on Candlewood Lake, located in Fairfield and Litchfield counties of western Connecticut, by being able to provide new coast guard approved ECFF vests to those who need them.
For more info on the Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation, visit www.emsway.org or follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emily_fedorko_foundation and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ECFFoundation. Anyone with a new ECFF life vest is asked to wear it in honor of Emily and tag us the foundation on social media.