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No lifeguard staffed at Atwater Beach this summer

Signs that read "swim at your risk" are posted throughout Atwater Beach. 

For the first time in five years, Atwater Beach will not have a lifeguard. According to Milwaukee County Parks, there were not enough lifeguard applicants.

But this issue isn't just affecting southeastern Wisconsin. It's an issue all over the U.S.

“It’s kind of cyclical, we see years where we see tons of lifeguards and people wanting to be lifeguards and lately it’s harder to get people interested," said Juliene Hefter, Executive Director of Aquatic Professionals

Hefter believes the lack of lifeguards has to do with pay and the amount of training that goes into it. 

"Unfortunately, most lifeguard positions only pay minimum wage or maybe a little bit more. So what's happening is they can go down the street and get a job that does not require training that lifeguards need," said Hefter.

Hefter started off as a lifeguard in West Bend. She's since traveled the U.S. educating others on water safety. 

"It's all about respecting the water, recognizing there are dangers in and around the water," said Hefter. 

Last weekend, there were four drownings in southeastern Wisconsin. In one instance, a 34-year-old man drowned at Klode Park. 

Hefter said whether there is a lifeguard or not parents should always keep an eye out on their kids. 

"Lifeguards are there to ensure the safety of people that come to the facilities. They can't guarantee it, that's parents job. No matter where you are always keep an eye on them," said Hefter. 

Milwaukee County Parks will have lifeguards at two county water parks, eleven public swimming pools and at Bradford Beach. 


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