Lakeway loaning life jackets to swimmers to prevent drownings

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LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) — Lakeway City Park is a popular spot for swimming and fishing during the summer months. That’s why the city is teaming up with local non-profit Colin’s Hope to offer life-jackets for people to borrow as they head into Lake Travis.

Colin’s Hope has stocked Lakeway’s new life jacket loaner station with more than 20 life jackets in various sizes, from infant to adult. The non-profit focuses on drowning prevention efforts in Central Texas and has put several other stations like Lakeway’s in the area.

It’s a simple process.

“Wear it here, and we ask people to leave it here,” said Colin’s Hope executive director Alissa Magrum as she stands next to the life jackets that were hung next to the park’s parking lot, right by the lake.

“They’ve been here waiting for people, and so now we just need to make sure people know that they’re here and encourage people to use them,” Magrum said.

Local businesses O’Neill’s Pools and BeneFIT Bikram Yoga pitched in to help pay for the life jackets in Lakeway.

With two drownings at Lakeway City Park in recent years, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, Andra Bennett, says swimmers are urged to take advantage of the new program.

“We have a lot of young families coming in here, with kids especially, and we just want to find ways to keep people safe,” Bennett said.

Even experienced swimmers are encouraged to take advantage of the program.

“No one is drown proof,” Magrum said, adding that open water can be unpredictable. “You never know if you’re going to hit your head on a rock or take in a gulp of water or something.”

More than 60 children have drowned in Texas so far this year, according to Colin’s Hope. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 4.

Lakeway City Park is the sixth location where Colin’s Hope has installed a life jacket loaner station in the area. It’s the third on Lake Travis, with other life jackets available at Bob Wentz Park and Mansfield Dam Park. The group also put life jackets at Hamilton Pool in southwest Travis County after several drownings there.

If you’d like to help with the life jacket loaner program, O’Neill’s Pools collects life jacket donations for Colin’s hope year-round at its store, located at 2300 Lohmans Spur Road in Lakeway, Texas.

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