Children under 48 inches tall who do not pass a swim test will be required to wear life jackets at city pools this summer. Under certain circumstances, those over 48 inches tall may also be required to wear life jackets. Free swim lessons for all ages will be offered at city pools this summer.
Life jackets will not be required in kiddie pools and the water play areas at Kimberley Park and Bolton Park pools. The city will provide life jackets. Patrons may bring their own life jackets if they have a stamp indicating that they are Coast Guard approved and pass inspection from the lifeguards.
The new policy is intended to enhance the safety of all pool patrons, said Tim Grant, the recreation and parks director. “This is a new trend we’re seeing across the country,” Grant said. “We want everybody to have a fun and safe time at our swimming pools.”
Children under 48 inches tall will be asked to take a swim test when they arrive at the pool. If they pass the test, they will receive a green wrist band that allows them to go anywhere in the pool. If they do not pass the test they will receive a red wrist band and a life jacket. They can go in the shallow end of the pool up to 3.5 feet.
The swim test consists of treading water for a minute and swimming 25 yards without touching the bottom. As the staff at a particular pool gets to know the children who attend often, lifeguards may issue green wrist bands to children who they know can swim, without administering a swim test, said Dick Butler, the aquatics director. “But if they go to another pool where the staff does not know them, they will have to take the test if they are under 48 inches.”
Anyone over 48 inches tall will be required to take a swim test if lifeguards observe that they may be poor or non-swimmers, Butler said. “If they are constantly bobbing off the bottom to keep their head above water, or hanging on the wall or hanging on to someone else – if they are showing that they may not have adequate swimming skills – we will ask them to take a swim test,” he said.
“If they cannot pass it, they will be issued a yellow wrist band and a life jacket and have to wear a life jacket.” Patrons with yellow wrist bands may go anywhere in the pool except the deep end for the diving boards. No life jackets will be allowed in the deep end of the pool.
Any patron who refuses to take a swim test will have to leave the pool grounds. “We hope that people will be willing to take this very simple swim test to assure the lifeguards that they can swim,” Butler said.
Swimmers with red or yellow wrist bands who are caught in the wrong section of the pool will be asked to sit out for 15 minutes. If they are caught a second time, they will have to leave the pool.
All children attending a pool as a day-care or summer-camp activity will be required to take swim tests and follow the wrist-band policy.
Free swim lessons for adults and children are available through the city pools this summer, thanks to the assistance of the American Red Cross and a grant from the Winston-Salem Rotary Club.
All pools will offer children’s lessons starting the week of June 14. Sign-ups will be June 12. Adult swim lessons will start the week of June 19 at Parkland Pool. Contact the pool the week before to preregister.
All pools will offer a Babes-in-Arms program for children five and under starting June 19. Contact the pool the week before to preregister.
Complete information about the aquatics program, pool calendars and hours, and dates for swim lessons is available on the Recreation & Parks web site. For more information call City Link at 727-8000.
Bolton, Kimberley, Polo, and Parkland pools open on May 29.
Happy Hill, Mineral Springs, Reynolds Park, and Sprague Street pools open on June 11.
Pools and Aquatics
Calendar for pool openings and swim lesson sign-ups
Swim Lessons information
Swimming Pool hours and fees