Now that more people are going out to swim, drowning can be an all too real possibility.
“You can’t really prepare for something like that, because usually you don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Castaway Cove lifeguard Willow Garrett said.
Castaway Cove practices about five audits with drowning dummies every day to ensure its lifeguards are on their toes. Park Manager Steve Vaughn has about 20 lifeguards around the water park and runs these drills so all of them are prepared if and when someone gets in trouble in the water.
“We have a mannequin that we drop in the water, and the lifeguard has 10 seconds to scan their area and 20 seconds to react to see the guest in distress and to pull them out,” he said. “Once they get them pulled out, they start CPR.”
Vaughn understands that safety is key now that summer is here and park goers are looking to cool off, but he also knows that not everyone is looking to splash the day away at his park and has his own advice for those swimming elsewhere.
“Always make sure there is a lifeguard on duty,” he said. “Never go swimming alone, and when you go swimming, stay sober.”
Castaway Cove can only do their part to ensure water safety, and Garrett thinks these tests are essential to saving lives when a real disaster goes down.
“I think they’re very good for the whole park to make sure they’re watching over our waters correctly and we’re not just sitting there,” she said.
In 11 years of operation, Castaway Cove has never had a drowning-related death, nor have they had to perform a rescue.