A nationwide shortage of lifeguards is causing significant concerns. Wyatt Werneth, the spokesperson for the American Lifeguard Association, stated that the situation is critical, with more than half of the 309,000 parks and pools across the country already experiencing closures or reduced hours.
New York State is also feeling the impact of this shortage. The Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced that the Adirondack and Catskill campgrounds will be transitioning to unsupervised swimming.
Werneth emphasized the importance and value of being a lifeguard, describing it as a wonderful job. Lifeguards are highly observant and trained in scanning techniques and victim recognition. They are skilled in identifying potential dangers before they escalate.
In terms of safety precautions, Werneth advised individuals to educate themselves and take care of their families. It’s crucial to ensure that everyone, including adults, knows how to swim. If someone in your group is not a proficient swimmer, it is recommended to provide them with Coast Guard-approved life jackets. These flotation devices can be lifesavers in case of emergencies or unexpected problems in the water.
Overall, the lifeguard shortage has prompted concerns about public safety, leading to adjustments in swimming regulations and an emphasis on personal responsibility when it comes to water safety.
ABC NEWS10 Interview on Swimming Safety Amid Lifeguard Shortage