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willard bay boaters get safety check from state park rangers
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Recent Utah drownings spur safety checks at Willard Bay, other parks

State park rangers checked boater registration and safety equipment Saturday, July 3, 2021 at Willard Bay State Park. Photo: Winston Armani, KSL TV Photographer

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — Utah State Park rangers spent a long, hot Saturday at Willard Bay State Park, performing safety checks and urging boaters and swimmers to wear life vests, after a recent spate of drownings in the state. 

“We just want to make sure it stays fun and people stay safe,” Utah Park Ranger Ben Meraz told KSL TV

Boater safety checks at Willard Bay

Among other things, park rangers checked to make sure the boats at Willard Bay obtain properly registration and that boaters carry the required safety equipment on board. That includes life vests. One person who was not wearing a life vest drowned Saturday at Deer Creek Reservoir when his canoe capsized. 

“Twelve and under, obviously, it’s required,” Merz said, “but everyone should have it on. You think you know how to swim, but then you get out there and you don’t really know how to swim, the weather changes, the water is too cold, and you just react in different ways.” 

Hear from boaters at Willard Bay and see video and a photo gallery at

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