Growing Aquatic Danger Across the United States

Recreational Swimming Areas Kept Open After Lifeguards Leave for the Day

Summertime represents a peak time of the year during which people enjoy outdoor activities of all types, including an array of aquatic sports. Swimming pools and beaches are particularly popular. A recurring issue regarding certain swimming pools and beaches is that these locations are open for use when lifeguards are on break or even left their posts all together for the day. The Rockaway peninsula in Queens, New York, provides example of the human toll this type of arrangement has taken on people of all ages, particularly children. A person with specific questions about a drowning accident can call the aquatic accident lawyer hotline at (800) 349-0000 any time of the day or night, 365 days a year.

Four Deaths on Rockaway Beaches During Summer of 2019 

Summer 2019 was about halfway over when the beaches of Rockaway, Queens, New York, recorded their fourth drowning death. All four deaths occurred whilst the beaches and water were open to the public and yet all lifeguards had departed for the day. A dozen swimmers have drowned in the water around the Rockaway beaches in the past five years, nearly all after lifeguards had left their posts while the water remained open to all comers.

The most recent death involved an 18-year-old area resident named John Munoz. John and a friend had entered the water sometime after 6:00 p.m. and after the lifeguards had departed their posts. The boys encountered problems once in the water. Common examples of problems encountered by people swimming at beaches like those around Rockaway are exhaustion, cramps, and undercurrents or rip tides. These more commonplace issues are all ones that lifeguards are skilled an providing effective swimmer rescue.

The beach was active at the time of the incident involving Munoz. People at the scene directly attempted to rescue the young men, none of the onlookers being trained in lifesaving of this nature. They did manage to save the young man swimming with Munoz. Unfortunately, they did not succeed in their efforts to rescued Munoz and he drowned.

Lifeguards and Public Beaches: Keeping Swimmers Safer

At locations like the beaches at Rockaway, lifeguards are on duty for specific hours every day. There are times during the day when lifeguards are not on duty. Some locations clearly prohibit swimming outside specifically demarcated times of the day. Thus, if someone takes to the water outside the permissible time frame, that individual is doing so in violation of the rules and regulations, perhaps even in violation of a community ordinance. They literally are swimming at their own risk.

Other beaches do not have similar sharp regulation. The Rockaway beaches are such an example. The lifeguards depart their posts at 5:00 p.m. The beach and water remain open. Indeed, beach concession stands and other inviting operations remain active at the shore until 10:00 p.m. People are not only not prohibited from swimming beyond the time lifeguards call it quits, they are encouraged to do so as a result of the other activities ongoing until later in the evening.

The New York City Parks Commissioner is the person in charge of scheduling lifeguards at locations like the beaches at Rockaway. The Commissioner responded to the call for extending lifeguard hours through 10:00 p.m. while other beach activities were ongoing by saying doing so would “stress out” the existing lifeguard team. The comment can fairly be translated as the New York City Parks Department doesn’t want to spend money on more lifeguards despite the state of affairs the beaches. The only response of the NYC Parks Department after the fourth drowning was to place tiny signs here and there near the shore that read “Danger drowning risk.”

Drowning Death and Other Aquatic Accidents: Who is Responsible?

Identifying who ultimately is responsible for a drowning death at a beach or swimming pool can prove to be a challenging task. The wise course to take when faced with the loss of a loved one in a drowning accident is to retain the services of a skilled, experienced aquatic accident lawyer, like a member of the legal team at The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000. A drowning accident lawyer from The Doan Law Firm, which is a nationwide law practice with offices from coast to coast, will schedule an initial consultation with you. An aquatic accident lawyer provides a thorough case evaluation. 

The Doan Law Firm has an attorney fee guarantee. The firm charges no fee unless a favorable settlement or judgment is obtained in a drowning accident case or other type of personal injury.