In a release to the press on Aug 19, Greenwich the Parks & Rec Dept
urges visitors to Greenwich beaches to be aware of important safety information.
According to the statement, due to a lifeguard shortage, Parks & Rec will change lifeguard coverage at Greenwich beaches. Specifically, Greenwich Parks and Recreation has adopted (on a trial basis) at Greenwich Point, a beach flagging system similar to the one used at State of Connecticut beaches.
The flagging system was developed for shoreline swimming areas to denote where lifeguard supervision is in place, as all beach areas are not staffed with lifeguards at all times.
The flag system is an additional method of communication with the public for maintaining water safety.
Green Flag – Open Swimming, lifeguard supervised swimming area
Yellow Flag – Warning, no lifeguard supervision swimming area
Red Flag – Closed to all swimming, or area temporarily unsafe
At Greenwich Point, the beach will be flagged accordingly, though the first aid station will be manned.
The main beach area at Island Beach will have lifeguard supervision. The little beach will have no lifeguard supervision. The first aid station will be manned.
At Byram Beach, there will be no lifeguard supervision, though the first aid station will be manned.
At Great Captain Island, there will be no lifeguard supervision, thought the first aid station will also be on manned during hours of ferry operation.
At the March 30 Parks & Rec board meeting, Marine Facilities Director Jeff Freidag said the town was looking to hire summer life guards and hoped an increase in hourly wage from $9.25 to $10.50 would be an enticement.
Back on March 30, Freidag said he had 19 applicants so far, and that the Town lifeguard supervisor, Jen Hansen, has been reaching out to past lifeguards. Freidat said around 35-40 lifeguards are needed each summer.
Mr. Freidag said fewer young people are getting their life guard certification, which he said reflects concerns about exposure to sun. Also, he said, lifeguards are not allowed have their phones when they’re in the lifeguard chair.
The shortage does not bode well for Greenwich.
Filling all lifeguard openings could become an even greater challenge when the Byram Pool is complete, as it will likely require 5 guards on the deck instead of two at the old pool.
The reason is that an ADA compliant, zer0-entry pool, which is by definition a big pool. A “zero entry” pool means it is possible to walk from the pool deck to the pool’s full depth of 5.5 ft without steps or a ladder. The bigger the pool, the more the lifeguards.
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