Experts urge visitors to wear life jackets as new sandy beach debuts at Utah Lake

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-29 11:26:02-04

UTAH COUNTY — Outdoor enthusiasts in American Fork want people to know you do not have to drive all the way to Lake Powell for sandy beaches anymore: There is a new one right in Utah County.

A new multi-million dollar renovation of Utah Lake includes a sandy beach opposite the marina parking lot at American Fork Boat Harbor.

“People come in in droves, and they’ll pile out here to try and get to the water line, and fishing and barbecuing and whatever they want to do, and there’s been no place for them to hang out,” said Pride Smith, Manager of Good Life Rentals, which is located right on the beach.

After getting all of the approvals they needed, working with the city of American Fork and Utah Lakes Commission, and pulling out all of the weeds in the area, crews hauled in more than 800 tons of fine grain sand to make the beach. The city donated the sand.

Smith said there is more to the area than the brand new beach to enjoy on the north side of the lake.

“There’s still plenty of room to get out there and find your own piece of lake to do whatever you want to do in: to fish, to water ski, to tube,” said Joshua Holt, Utah Lake Assistant Park Manager.

He said the most important thing to remember is to stay safe on land and especially on the water.

“We had a boating accident out here the other day, and luckily all those people had life jackets on and it really helped them out,” he said.

He told Fox 13 that 80 percent of drowning deaths could have been prevented if the person were wearing a life jacket. More importantly, he said, people need to wear one that fits them and will not slip off over their heads.

He said children 12 and under must wear one, while those 13 and over are strongly encouraged to do so, but Holt said he wouldn’t take the risk of not wearing a life jacket.

He added that making sure you have all of the equipment you need on your boat before you launch is also important. That includes, but is not limited to, making sure there is a fire extinguisher on board, the gas tank is filled, and the boat’s battery is fully charged and ready to go. He said too often is he called out to tow someone in who ran out of gas or ended up stuck with a dead battery.

Utah State Parks encourages everyone to watch their PSAs before leaving the dock.

Their PSAs are available in both 30-second and 60-second versions, see below for both videos: