Besides cooling off and having fun, safety is our top priority at our waterfronts. Each waterfront is staffed by American Red Cross certified lifeguards who have completed the Waterfront Module certification. Further, the organization maintains an Aquatics Facility Plan which is compliant with American Red Cross waterfront standards for guarding and ratios.
It should also be noted that our waterfronts are inspected annually by the Burlington County Department of Health to ensure that the waterfronts have sufficient first aid and lifeguarding supplies, that the equipment is in good working order, and that the waterfront is otherwise in good shape. In addition to this annual inspection, our waterfronts are sampled by a third-party vendor weekly during the “swimming season” to ensure that the water itself is safe for swimming.
With respect to swimming procedures, every camper participates in a swimming evaluation prior to having “free swim” in our lake. Our lifeguards will evaluate the camper’s swimming ability, and place campers in the appropriate swim-level sections. Each of our waterfronts is sectioned off into three different swimming levels based on the depth of the water – white, green, and red.
The white section is open to all campers, and is the shallowest section. Campers of all ages should be able to stand in the white section, as part of the evaluation includes having the camper walk out to touch the rope line at the deepest end of the section.
The green section is the middle section and requires a camper to demonstrate the ability to swim with some endurance. Finally, the red section is our deepest section, and is best for campers who can comfortably swim for extended periods of time, without touching the bottom.
Our lifeguards take their jobs very seriously, and watch during tests for signs that campers may not be in the safest section. Signs include:
- repeated motions of reaching for the bottom of the lake for support or a break;
- fully submerging their head at any point of the test when doing so is not required;
- overexertion or if the camper claims to feel too tired during the test;
- an inability to swim a complete dock length of one of the test strokes; and
- reaching for the dock for assistance or support.
Campers are encouraged to test for more advanced swim levels at the beginning of each session. With hard work and patience, campers can advance to deeper sections. After the swim evaluation is complete, campers will receive a swim tag that includes their name and swim section.
To further our safety measures at the waterfront, campers will be assigned a swim buddy. Swim buddies must swim in the same section together. Before entering the waterfront, the swim buddies will give their swim tag to the lifeguard. The lifeguard will place the swim tags on our buddy board that is specifically designed for the swim sections’ tags.
At routine intervals, our lifeguards will call “buddy check. During a “buddy check,” all campers and staff exit the water and sit on the beach area or dock, depending on their swim section. Campers and staff will find their buddy and hold their hands in the air together. The lifeguards will count to be sure the number of buddy pairs match the buddy pairs on the board. This procedure ensures that all of the campers that have entered the waterfront are accounted for. Before campers are able to go back into the water, lifeguards will rotate to different guard areas of the swimming sections.