On Sunday morning, Rob Whelan posed a question on the Milford Patch Facebook page:
Question: why do they not allow any type of "floaties" including swimmies at Milford beaches? Thanks!
Whelan added that his daughter had to take her swimmies off in Sunday. "The lifeguard walked over and asked," wrote.
In an email, Recreation Supervisor Bill Garfield explained the policy:
The prohibition on children’s floaties and inflatables is designed to enhance the safety of swimmers by ensuring the lifeguards have clear sight lines, by reducing the opportunities for swimmers to get into distress, and to encourage parents to provided better supervision of their child in the water.
Children’s “swimmies” can help children experience freedom in the water (under the direct supervision of a parent or instructor) and help non-swimmers overcome the fear of the water. However, when used at the beach they provided a false sense of security to both the child and the parent. This can led to over-confidence, where the swimmer ventures out into deeper water and gets into trouble. Lifeguards can become distracted by children using “swimmies” and end up focusing on those with floatation aids and not on the entire population in the water.
Rafts and other inflatables have been known to develop leaks leaving non-swimmers in distress; children can easily fall off rafts, tubes, etc., as a result waves or winds leaving them in jeopardy; users of these items can also drift in deep water or tire while trying to retrieve the item from deep water. Most importantly these items obstruct the lifeguard’s view of the water and as mentioned earlier cause them to focus on these swimmers and not on the entire population in the water.
What do you think? Should the lifeguards have clear sight lines of all those swimming at the beach? or should floaties and floatation devices be allowed?