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New Buffalo lifeguard program supported during New Buffalo City Council meeting | harborcountry-news.com

Posted by | April 23, 2018 | Uncategorized

New Buffalo lifeguard program supported during New Buffalo City Council meetingBy John Gunner Gooch News Correspondent Apr 18, 2018 Lifeguards at the beach in New Buffalo last summer.

NEW BUFFALO – While the issue of whether or not to have lifeguards stationed at the popular public beach this year was not on the agenda for the April 17 meeting of the New Buffalo City Council, many in attendance took the opportunity to let their feelings on the matter be known during the public comment portion. First to speak was Terry Van Doren, Risk Control Consultant from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, said that the quality of the people available to be hired as lifeguards has dwindled over the years, and that most state parks in Michigan no longer have lifeguards on duty.“It’s hard to recruit people because there is lots of rigorous training involved, and even if you can most are between 18 and 25 years-old and tend to leave before the end of the summer season,” Van Doren said. “Lifeguards have to be diligent while on duty, and during a rescue they have to be able to operate fully in the scope of their duties.”He went on to say that there is no law in Michigan that requires the use of lifeguards, and if a municipality decides to have them they need to be fully trained because if they are not it may lead to possible litigation.“ You see those ‘Swim At Your Own Risk’ signs posted at beaches that alerts users to the possible hazards, and then it’s up to them to decide whether or not they want to go into the water,” Van Doren said. “Then if something happens it’s not an issue of gross negligence, but if you have lifeguards on duty and there is a drowning, then that may be considered gross negligence, and that type of lawsuit could lead to higher insurance rates or even make it quite hard to get insurance.”Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Ennis deemed the situation a double-edged sword.“We entice people to come here and enjoy spending time on our beach, but it seems as if there’s a possibility we may get sued if we do have lifeguards, or if we don’t have lifeguards,” she commented.Two officials from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project; Bob Pratt and Dave Benjamin, made a case for the extra safety lifeguards provide to the public.    READ MORE…

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