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State, county, and local officials have found yet another way to cut a straining budget: get rid of lifeguards at local beaches. Wooden placards warning beach goers to “swim at their own risk” are quickly replacing lifeguards. Residents, particularly parents, are becoming increasingly concerned about the public safety cost this new money-saving technique might impose. Others argue that it was never the responsibility of lifeguards to babysit young swimmers.

While Genesee County parks haven’t seen any drowning deaths since they pulled their lifeguards in 2005, other parks are wary to join suit for fear of losing their reputation as safe places for families. While parents are responsible for the primary supervision of their children, lifeguards can provide important life saving techniques such as CPR during times of emergency.

While State law requires public pools to have lifeguards on duty, public beaches are not. If beach operators get their way, it seems there may be a larger pool crowd this year.

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