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Utah Lake Lifejackets
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The families of two girls who drowned on Utah Lake start a donation drive for lifejackets

(Courtesy Utah Lake Commission)

PROVO, Utah – 18-year-old Priscilla Bienkowski and 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez were inner-tubing  on Utah Lake in May when a freak storm with high winds hit, they were not wearing lifejackets. 

Their families want to prevent another tragedy from happening on the lake and are teaming up with the Utah Lake Commission to hold a donation drive for lifejackets. 

The goal is to put up lifejacket loaner stations at several more points along the lakeshore, so anyone who needs one has access to it. 

Utah Lake Commission member Sam Braegger told KSL-TV that lifejackets are critical for water safety. 

“Nationally, as much as 80 percent of boating-related fatalities could’ve been prevented if someone was wearing a lifejacket,” Braegger said. 

Priscilla’s sister Stephanie Cowles, who came up with the donation drive, is not surprised at that statistic. 

“That hit home because I truly believe that if the girls were wearing lifejackets, they could’ve been found,” Cowles said. 

The lifejacket donation drive for Utah Lake is being held from September 30th to October 7th. 

People can drop off new or lightly used lifejackets at a few locations: 

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

Or they can donate money or volunteer their time using the Utah Lake Commission’s website: http://utahlakecommission.org/utah-lake-life-jacket-drive/