Visitors to Hagg Lake have new options for water safety - KPTV - FOX 12

Visitors to Hagg Lake have new options for water safety

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Boaters and swimmers at Hagg Lake in Washington County can now use life jackets kept at the lake by park officials to improve safety in the water. (KPTV) Boaters and swimmers at Hagg Lake in Washington County can now use life jackets kept at the lake by park officials to improve safety in the water. (KPTV)
HAGG LAKE, OR (KPTV) -

Many people were enjoying the sun and heat at Hagg Lake in Washington County Thursday.

There are several stations around the lake where boaters and swimmers can borrow a life jacket, with kid and adult sizes available.

Local officials and families hope people will use them after a devastating drowning accident here two years ago.

Jim Ahlbauch was enjoying the gorgeous day at the lake with his two grandsons. While Ahlbauch does not plan on taking the boys in the water yet, he knows a lot of other people will.

That is why he is relieved to see the loaner life jackets, since he believes too many people over-estimate their skills in the water.

“They get in without the life jacket and they can’t swim, and the person who tries to rescue them can’t swim either, and then it just snowballs and you have more than one death at a time,” Ahlbauch said.

That scenario is just what happened two years ago when four members of a Hillsboro family drowned at Hagg Lake.

Officials think a mother, her son, her daughter and her daughter’s son all accidentally walked off a ledge underwater while not wearing life jackets.

The area is marked with warnings.

Noelle Lawson and her friends also enjoyed the weather at Hagg Lake Thursday. The Hillsboro High School students said the appreciate having the life jackets nearby, and hope that other teens will also use the safety devices.

“I think our friends should be supportive of that,” she said. “It’s fine. If you can’t swim, you should have that if you want.”

Ahlbauch said that while he is always talking to his grandsons about safety, he knows that not everyone can afford their own life jackets, and he appreciates the fact that some are always available at the lake.

“If they don’t have that opportunity to get them, they‘re note going to show up with them on their own sometimes,” he said. “So I think that a good fix, perhaps, for the problem they had before.”

The life jackets will be available at Hagg Lake through the summer.

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