The Department of Conservation and Recreation will be opening 81 State Beaches and Waterfronts for the summer season, starting Memorial Day Weekend
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DCR Opens 81 State Beaches and Waterfronts for Summer Season Starting Memorial Day Weekend
The Healey-Driscoll Administration urges the public to take precautions when around waterbodies
REVERE- Ahead of the opening of designated swimming areas at inland and coastal beaches throughout the Massachusetts state parks system this Memorial Day Weekend, members of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, including Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Brian Arrigo, Massachusetts Environmental Police Colonel Shawn Santos, and Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Colonel James Concannon urged the public to take precautions when on or near waterbodies and pool facilities this summer. During an event this week at Revere Beach, the officials highlighted the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that state beaches and waterfronts provide a safe and fun experience for Massachusetts families.
“Since day one, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has prioritized equity across all sectors in the Commonwealth – and that includes our beautiful beaches and waterfronts,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “As our summers get hotter and hotter and many of our cities contend with the urban heat island effect, it is even more critical to ensure our families have safe and easy access to water and outdoor fun.”
“DCR works, every year, to make our waterfronts and pools as safe as possible for visitors seeking relief from the summer heat,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “Starting this weekend, I am excited to welcome families back to our parks and beaches and I encourage everyone to take precautions and follow posted signage when visiting our properties to ensure a safe and fun experience.”
Weekend lifeguard services will begin this weekend at many designated waterfronts to provide safer swimming environments. Starting June 17, lifeguards will be on duty seven days a week at select beaches and waterfronts across the Commonwealth. DCR began water quality testing this week at all 81 designated swimming areas and will have ropes and buoys in place at inland water areas to signify safe swimming areas. Additionally, visitors will see safety signage at unguarded locations that can be translated into seven languages – including Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Mandarin, and Russian – using a QR code, and life rings for the public to use at guarded and unguarded swimming areas in the event of an emergency.
“The Massachusetts State Police are dedicated to keeping the Commonwealth’s beaches, parks and reservations safe and enjoyable for all individuals and families,” said Colonel John E. Mawn Jr. “We welcome all visitors to our magnificent waterfront areas and ask only that they respect the law and the rights of their fellow patrons and be mindful of water safety guidelines for themselves, their children, and others around them.”
"It is also important boaters prioritize safety this Memorial Day Weekend," said Massachusetts Environmental Police Colonel Shaun Santos. "Even the simplest safety tips go a long way, and being vigilant on the water and wearing a lifejacket could save boaters' and swimmers' lives. We are urging everyone to adhere to boating laws to ensure a fun and safe weekend."
Water Safety tips to adhere to when swimming include:
· Only swim at or within designated swimming areas. Swimming outside of the designated swimming areas, or at waterfronts where swimming is prohibited can be dangerous;
· Use the buddy system and always tell someone where you are going;
· Keep a close eye on children near the water. Parents and other guardians serve as the first and primary line of safety for their children;
· Teach children to always ask permission before going near the water;
· Avoid consuming alcohol or drugs;
· Drink lots of water;
· Don’t dive headfirst into the water;
· Do not swim during a storm or when there is lightning;
· Make sure you know how to swim. If you can’t swim, keep to shallow areas or use a U.S. Coast Guard-guard-approved life jacket;
· Don’t swim beyond your skillset;
· If caught in a rip current, don't swim against it. Swim parallel to the shoreline to escape it and then at an angle toward the beach;
· When in a boat, wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket; and
· If a person in your group goes missing, check the water and notify lifeguards and park staff immediately.
This year, DCR will once again provide free swimming lessons to children at select agency pools across the Commonwealth starting in July 2023, through the Learn to Swim Program. Additionally, the Healey-Driscoll approved $350,000 in funding for the Safe Water Initiative Massachusetts (SWIM) program, through which the state will partner with outside organizations to provide free swim lessons to people of all ages.
DCR is continuing to recruit lifeguards at its inland and coastal beaches, as well as swimming pools, which will open next month. This year, the Healey-Driscoll Administration increased the hourly rate for pool and waterfront staff to between $22 and $27, depending on position and associated certifications. The agency also offered bonuses of up to $1,250, $1,000 of which is still available for certified lifeguards who commit to employment before July 1, 2023. In addition to the early sign-on bonus that’s still available, DCR is also providing retention bonuses that will be provided to lifeguards who continue to work for the department through the end of the season. To learn more about lifeguarding opportunities, please visit the agency’s lifeguarding webpage.
Of the agency’s 21 spray decks, 13 will open this weekend on Saturday, May 27, and will remain open for the summer season. The remaining spray decks will open later this season. DCR pools will open for the season on June 24, with lifeguard services seven days a week.
To learn more about water safety, please visit the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) website.