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Politics & Government

Bill Would Put Lifeguards Back On Duty At State Park Beaches

Keith Ewing

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer – which means, among other things, swimming! 

Sen. RopTeplitz (D-Dauphin) has introduced a bill that would return lifeguards to state park public beaches.

“In 2008, the lifeguards were eliminated at all but two parks due to budgetary reasons, but I think the public safety requires that the lifeguards be restored,” Teplitz said.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources estimates the state saved roughly $800,000 a year by not having lifeguards on duty at all parks. Teplitz said those savings aren't worth risking public safety.

“We want to make sure that if we are inviting the public onto state property that the state does everything it can to keep those people safe,” he said.

Lifeguards remain on duty at Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie and Fuller Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Those were left because of possible hazards relating to currents, depth and temperature. Teplitz’s bill, currently in the Environmental and Energy Committee, aims to restore lifeguards at all parks.

“If people do use the beaches on state park lands, (they need to) know going in that they should be more vigilant about themselves, and particularly about their kids swimming,” Teplitz said.

The bill would allow each park to decide what times are best to provide lifeguards, which Teplitz said will help keep costs in line.