GLOUCESTER –Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Police Chief Edward Conley, Fire Chief Eric Smith and Director of Public Works Michael Hale would like to remind Gloucester residents and visitors to take safety precautions during their trips to the beach this summer.
“We want everyone who visits Gloucester beaches this summer to have a fun filled, safe experience,” Fire Chief Smith said. “Residents and visitors to the beach need to practice safe swimming habits, pay attention to the weather, wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and behave responsibly.”
Before heading out, beach goers should remember to use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, reapplying liberally every two hours on dry skin whenever they get out of the water. The sun’s UV rays are most hazardous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and overexposure to the sun can cause sunburns, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
Those who plan on swimming in Gloucester should also be cognizant of rip currents, which can form in any large area of open water, particularly in low spots and breaks in sandbars.
Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty daily at Gloucester beaches through Labor Day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Pavillion beach.
Mayor Romeo Theken, Police Chief Conley, Fire Chief Smith and Department of Public Works Director Hale advise residents to follow safety tips outlined by the American Red Cross:
- While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning flags are up or any notifications about potential hazards.
- Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone.
- If you’re supervising children who are swimming, do so sober and without distractions, such as a cell phone.
If you are caught in a rip current:
- Stay calm and don’t fight the current.
- Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
- If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
- If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
- If someone is in trouble in the water, call 911.Throw the victim something that floats – a life jacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.
Anyone looking to purchase a pool should contact the Gloucester Inspectional Services prior to doing so in order to determine which permits they may need.
Mayor Romeo Theken and Gloucester public safety officials also urge residents to take heed of several pool safety tips this summer.
- Per Massachusetts regulations, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
- For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.