file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, On Labor Day I was at Graydon late in the afternoon. The water was beautiful, the weather was spectacular, the snack bar was humming, there were lots and lots of people swimming and on the sand. It was, in a (hyphenated) word, picture-perfect.
That is, until I began to notice a couple of serious safety breaches. First of all, the rope dividing the shallow area from the deep-water area had been removed. There was nothing dividing the two sections. What the heck? A number of years ago, as most of us know, a child tragically drowned when he passed under the rope into the deep area, and was unable to swim. Why in the world would this rope (which also had signs warning people not to cross over) be taken down when the pool was open for business and the water was teeming with children? As I was standing on the patio area pondering this, I saw a young male lifeguard coming from the diving board area. He was carrying a life ring and two long poles that have a grab-bar on the end for saving the life of someone who is in trouble in deep water;. There were people going off the diving boards all the while. There was one guard at this time (a young woman) by the diving boards – so no extra guard/s were on duty to compensate for the lack of lifesaving equipment. I walked over toward the deep end to ascertain that, indeed, the life ring and the poles which normally are on the fence by the high-dive were gone. There were people going off the diving boards repeatedly, and there was a woman standing on the platform apparently watching one of the younger children.
It seemed that the initiative for all of this was to get the pool cleaned up and shut down quickly. Announcements started to come via the loudspeaker that the pool would be closing, that patrons would have to leave immediately at 7:30, and that the guards had clean-up to do in order to close down for the season. Instead of letting patrons (who paid good money) simply enjoy the final hour or so of the season, employees were cleaning up the party before it was even over. I cannot find any rationale for removing life-protecting and life-saving measures from the pool when it was still operational. Adding to this, the sun was quite low in the sky as it is, after all, September, so visibility for the guards had to be somewhat reduced.
Thankfully nothing bad happened. The pool closed, the season ended, and the lack of safety precautions at the end did not result in any tragedy. But come on, who is running this show???