‘In the zone’: Lifeguards focus on swimmers’ safety

Safety in the water is one of the main goals at Wet n' Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park. / Jordan Carey, Times-News correspondent

By Jordan Carey
Times-News correspondent

   What is one of the top priorities while swimming? Staying safe.
Ever since Wet ’n Wild Emerald Pointe opened in 1984, safety in the water is the main goal of the 168 lifeguards who work there. After completing 25 hours of qualification training, every lifeguard must continue training four hours each month at the park. During their shift, lifeguards must stay focused on the job to ensure the safety of more than 300,000 guests who visit each year.
Lifeguards must be “100 percent in the zone, 100 percent of the time,” said aquatics manager, Kristy Spivey. Her job as the aquatics manager is to supervise all the lifeguards. Part of that includes training them each month so that they can perform their job well. Perhaps one of the hardest tasks to do is watching out for each swimmer. Lifeguards constantly watch out for signs of distress, such as facial expressions, body positions, and dark spots that could be swimmers at the bottom of a pool.
   The number of lifeguards at each pool is determined by how far they can swim in 20 seconds, and by how large the pool itself is. At least three lifeguards will be posted for each pool at all times. Each waterslide, such as the Raging Rapids, will have one lifeguard stationed at the top to send the visitors down the slide, and one or more at the bottom to make sure they get off of the slide safely. At Shipwreck Cove, lifeguards are stationed around the pool, as well as on the ship.
One of the larger slides, The Edge, is probably the most popular attraction in the park. For those who don’t like heights, however, another favorite is the Thunder Bay Wave Pool, which appeals to both weak swimmers and strong ones. At Thunder Bay, several lifeguards are on duty to supervise over a hundred swimmers at once.
Wet ’n Wild Emerald Pointe is listed as one of the top 10 water parks in North Carolina. The lifeguards are always focused on their task, and because of this, visitors to the park remain safe while swimming. Being a lifeguard is “a fun summer job if you like helping people,” Spivey said.
For more information about Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe, visit their website at www.emeraldpointe.com

Jordan Carey is a rising freshman home-schooler and a Teens & 20s writer.

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