Le Lézard
Classified in: Tourism and vacations, Sports and recreation
Subject: PSF

Lifeguards Offer Tips for Staying Safe at Beaches and Water Parks This Summer


GULF SHORES and ORANGE BEACH, Ala. and PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., May 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Memorial Day is the official start of the summer travel season, kicking off 100 days of fun in the sun ... and water!

Two of the most popular summer vacation destinations are beaches and water parks, each of which brings plenty of joy but also potential worries. To help visitors prepare for a summer in the sun and create pleasant memories in and near the water, lifeguards spend countless hours training to avoid emergencies and conditioning themselves to be ready if they do need to spring into action.

We spoke with some of these lifeguards to get some tips on how to keep everyone safe this summer, no matter what part of the country they're vacationing in.

Beach Safety

The twin beach communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in coastal Alabama welcome millions of visitors each summer. Though the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico offer unique features that set them apart from beaches up and down the East and West coasts of the United States, there are general rules that all beachgoers can follow to stay safe this summer. (And the final week of May, noted as National Beach Safety Week, is the perfect time to remind people of those rules.)

Joethan Phillips, the Beach Safety Chief for the City of Gulf Shores, and Brett Lesinger, the Beach Safety Division Chief for the City of Orange Beach, support their destinations' "BEach SAFE" program, which aims to educate visitors about potential hazards and help them best prepare for their beach vacations.

"An open body of water always has hazards and dangers," Lesinger says. "It's not like a pool. You don't know the exact depth. You may not be able to see the floor. There are waves and currents, even on the flattest days."

Phillips agrees, saying, "Know what you're getting yourself into. Know that this is not a controlled body of water."

Here are some safety tips that the pair assembled for travelers planning a beach vacation this summer:

Prepare for the Beach

Practice Water Safety

Respond to Emergencies

Don't Get Lost

Water Park Safety

Most of us know the name Dollywood, Dolly Parton's theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Its sister water park, Dollywood's Splash Country, might not be as well known, but it's just as celebrated within the amusement industry. It offers towering slides, sparkling pools, family-friendly splash zones and beautiful scenery ... because like Dollywood, this water park is built into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Though it's noted for great rides, incredible food options and an array of entertainment, Dollywood's Splash Country is known throughout the industry for its commitment to safety. Lauren Lowery, Senior Operations Manager, helps oversee the park's team of award-winning lifeguards, who spend hours preparing through an intensive program developed by Ellis & Associates, which has trained aquatic safety teams in more than 40 countries.

 "It can be hard to keep safety top-of-mind when a water park's environment is so exciting, but a little safety preparation can go a long way," Lowery says. "We encourage our guests to do their research before they visit. Gain an understanding of the park and its offerings, so you can have a plan for your visit."  

Dollywood's Splash Country offers these additional tips for staying safe at water attractions this summer:

Wear Proper Swim Gear

Swim Safely

Look Before You Slide

Take Care of Your Body

Above all, whether you're spending your vacation at a water park or the beach, take your cues from the lifeguards, who spend hours training and learning how to navigate potential danger.

"We're not here to ruin people's fun," Lesinger says. "We want people to enjoy their vacation and go home safely."

SOURCE MBPR


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