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Milwaukee County beaches won't have lifeguards this summer, officials say

Posted at 7:26 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 20:26:30-04

MILWAUKEE — County officials announced Friday there will be no lifeguards at Milwaukee County beaches.

If you’re looking to swim this summer, you’ll have to do so at your own risk.

“This year, we will not have lifeguards at our beaches,” said Guy Smith, Executive Director of Milwaukee County Parks.

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County Parks officials said in lieu of lifeguards, there will be a system in which beachgoers are told if the currents are safe to enjoy.

“Red flags mean stop, it’s not safe to go in the water. Yellow means caution, swim at your own risk. And green means go,” Smith said.

Smith says the policy was put in place because of a lack of available lifeguards with open-water experience specific to waters like Lake Michigan.

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Beachgoers like siblings Eric and Kristy Phenning say this news means they’ll be more vigilant, looking out for others at the beach.

“Make sure you come with somebody who's paying attention to you,” Eric Phenning said.

Beachgoer Cameron Clark suggests the county bring in some volunteers to at least keep an eye on the water during busy hours and make a call in an emergency.

“I don’t think it’ll be that hard to find some lifeguards or some volunteers to come down and watch their beach and look out for the kids,” he said.

Parks officials also announced McKinley Beach will be closed again this year as experts study dangerous rip currents caused by boulders along the water.

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