Water safety emphasized this Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend water safety

Memorial Day Weekend water safety

Signs of summer surround Lake Nokomis as people hit the water. That’s where you’ll find John Teurman — running up the beach and back again.

“We’re up early, and we’re working pretty hard,” said Teurman, an employee at Wheel Fun Rentals. “We’re renting out boats, and then we’re down here, we’re helping people get kayaks, paddle boats, pedal boats, canoes, and sometimes you gotta give them a little instruction and stuff, so it’s a lot of work.”

With no lifeguards expected to man the stands until later in the afternoon, other precautions, such as life jackets, are required.

“Safety is really important here, so we have life vests over here,” Teurman said. “I mean, we just can’t verify how good of a swimmer someone is, so we just want to make sure, no matter what, they are safe out there. And I guess life vests are the best way to do that.”

Outdoor pools and other YMCA of the North water recreation facilities also officially opened Saturday. No matter where you swim, there’s an emphasis on protective gear.

“I think we hear about the drownings and a lot of times it’s people who are older that didn’t wear a life jacket because they’re not mandated, and then they get into trouble and can’t get out… they’re not just for kids,” said Shannon Kinstler, Aquatic Director of YMCA of the North.

Shannon emphasized the importance of parents keeping a close eye on their kids and not getting distracted by reading a book or looking at their phones, especially with a shortage of lifeguards.

“The best place to swim is with a lifeguard, though. A lifeguard isn’t a babysitter, we still need parental supervision and all the other layers of protection. A lifeguard is there to alert you and to help if something does arise.”

Addie Kinstler says that she’s wanted to be a lifeguard since she was 12 and witnessed a friend starting to sink.

“I’ve been a lifeguard for the past two years. I took the certification class right away when I was 16 years old,” Addie said. “It was terrifying, and I immediately knew I wanted to do something about this. You know, I didn’t want young teens, kids, adults to ever go through this, you know, experience, to watch it firsthand.”

As the chairs sit empty, she encourages more teens to take on the job.

“You know that you’re not only working but doing something that matters,” said Addie.