Life Jacket donation drive at Utah Lake follows the death of two teens this summer

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Utah (ABC4 News) — The Utah Lake Commission announced a life jacket drive in an effort to gather life jackets and monetary donations to support a new loaner program in partnership with the families of Priscilla Bienkowski and Sophia Hernandez.

Priscilla and Sophia tragically lost their lives this past May while recreating at Utah Lake.

Officials say the new program will provide life jackets at public access points around Utah Lake. The life jacket drive will start Wednesday, September 30, and run through Wednesday, October 7.

“Visitation this year on Utah Lake is up 57%, compared to the previous 5-year average. People are more interested than ever in spending time at Utah Lake and we want to provide life jackets for anyone who needs them, says Eric Ellis, Utah Lake Commission Executive Director, “The Commission works on many projects to improve water safety at Utah Lake, such as installing weather stations, promoting the Windy Lookout app for severe weather notifications that are specific to Utah Lake and this life jacket drive.”

According to Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, nationally, 80% of people who drowned in boating accidents would have survived had they been wearing a personal flotation device.

The loaner life jacket program will be put in place next spring.

Below is a list of drop-off locations across Utah County:

  • American Fork Marina
  • Lindon Marina
  • Orem City offices
  • Provo Recreation Center
  • Saratoga Springs Marina
  • Utah Lake State Park
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