One thing that makes lifeguarding so challenging is the fact that many lifeguards cannot determine who is the next Michael Phelps and who is the next victim until it is too late. The first priority at every facility should be to identify all non-swimmers with either highly visible wristbands or necklaces. Once that is accomplished, parents and other patrons should be informed of the non-swimmer designation so they can assist lifeguards keeping these sinkers safe. My wife often reminds me of her Girls Scouting days when all girls at the waterfront were required to wear bathing caps of different colors identifying their ability levels. Many facilities now use colored necklaces (red, yellow, green) to identify all swimming levels for all children in the pool. Identifying all at-risk swimmers is one of the best layers of protection we can arm lifeguards with to keep children safe in the water. Of course, floating them with life jackets would just about guarantee keeping them safely on the surface. What are your thoughts regarding identifying weak and non-swimmers?

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Comment by Tom Griffiths on December 28, 2013 at 9:36am

Way to go Lee!  We need more pools throughout the country organized like yours.

If the Ski Industry can mark their trail heads  "beginning,"" intermediate" and "advanced", why can't we do the same with our aquatic facilities?

Comment by Lee Bryan on December 28, 2013 at 5:26am

I use a combination of your Note and Float Program and colored disposable wrist bands. The pool is divided into three areas. Non-swimmers must wear lifejackets and a red wrist band and can not leave this area. Older swimmers who do not pass a swim test must wear a yellow wrist band and stay in water 2 1/2 feet to 4 feet deep. Those who pass a swim test get a red wrist band and may go anywhere as well as use the slide and aqua wall.

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