Press Release

Press Release Waterfront Services Throughout the State Parks System Starts Memorial Day Weekend

Baker-Polito Administration Urges Public to Take Precautions When Around Waterbodies and Pool Facilities
For immediate release:
5/26/2022
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation

Media Contact for Waterfront Services Throughout the State Parks System Starts Memorial Day Weekend

Carolyn Assa, Communications Director

Milton — Ahead of the long Memorial Day Weekend, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced that waterfront services will be provided at several inland and ocean beaches throughout the Massachusetts state parks system starting on Saturday, May 28, 2022. However, state officials are urging the public to take precautions when recreating on or near waterbodies and pool facilities this season. The announcement was delivered at an event at Houghton’s Pond located within the Blue Hills Reservation in the Town of Milton, where Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card, Acting Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Stephanie Cooper, Homeland Security Undersecretary Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe, Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Sergeant Michael Josti, and Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) Major Kevin Clayton discussed the aggressive steps the Baker-Polito Administration has taken to ensure waterfronts and swimming facilities are safer places for visitors and their families to enjoy.

“Memorial Day Weekend often provides an opportunity for many to get outside, have fun with friends and family, and enjoy the holiday weekend; however, it is incredibly important that everyone is careful and takes appropriate measures to keep everyone safe while enjoying pools and beaches,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We have taken significant steps over the last couple of years to increase water safety throughout the state parks system and educating everyone on knowing their swimming abilities, understanding water temperatures, and being alert when in the water.“

“Since coming into office in 2015, our Administration has taken a proactive approach in making beaches and other waterfronts safer locations for all to enjoy,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By working directly with partner organizations, we have been able to expand free swimming lesson opportunities, installed multilingual waterfront signage, and increased water safety programming in an effort to prevent tragedies from occurring in the first place. ”

With the start of waterfront services throughout the state parks system, many locations will have lifeguards working on weekends to provide safer swimming environments. Later in the summer, lifeguards will be on duty seven days a week at select locations. Furthermore, at designated swimming locations, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will commence water quality testing and will have ropes and buoys in place. Additionally, visitors will see new safety signage at several unguarded locations that can be translated into seven languages using a QR code. Life rings have also been made available at several locations for the public to use in the event of an emergency.

“With Memorial Day serving as the unofficial start to the summer season, we are excited to have thousands of visitors spend the day enjoying the Commonwealth’s beaches, parks, and other natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “It’s important that everyone takes appropriate safety measures and adheres to lifeguards’ directions to ensure a safe, fun time is enjoyed by all visitors this summer.”

“We welcome the opportunity to remind visitors to the state’s beaches and pool facilities to practice swimming precautions and abide by the safeguards that are in place for your protection,” said Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Undersecretary Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe. “To ensure a peaceful and family-friendly experience, we also remind visitors to follow the law, observe beach and pool regulations, and respect the rights of others.”

“It is also important that boaters take extra care to prioritize safety this Memorial Day Weekend,” said Massachusetts Environmental Police Colonel Shaun Santos. “We are urging boaters to travel at reasonable speeds and never operate boats under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A personal floatation device, commonly known as a lifejacket, is the most important piece of safety equipment for any person that operates or rides on a boat.”

Water Safety tips to adhere to when swimming include:  

  • Only swim at or within designated swimming areas. Swimming outside of the designated swimming areas, or at waterfronts where swimming is prohibited can be dangerous;  
  • Use the buddy system and always tell someone where you are going;  
  • Keep a close eye on children near the water. Parents and other guardians serve as the first and primary line of safety for their children;  
  • Teach children to always ask permission before going near the water;   
  • Avoid consuming alcohol or drugs;   
  • Drink lots of water;   
  • Don’t dive headfirst into the water;  
  • Do not swim during a storm or when there is lightning; 
  • Make sure you know how to swim. If you can’t swim, keep to shallow areas or use a U.S. Coast Guard-guard approved life jacket; 
  • Don’t swim beyond your skillset;  
  • If caught in a rip current, don't swim against it. Swim parallel to the shoreline to escape it, and then at an angle toward the beach;  
  • When in a boat, wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket; and,
  • If a person in your group goes missing, check the water and notify lifeguards and park staff. 

This year, DCR will again provide free swimming lessons to adults and children at select agency pools across the Commonwealth starting in July 2022. The agency is also coordinating a series of free Water Safety Days, where visitors will learn about aquatic safety through fun and engaging activities centered around water competency. In addition, DCR is again partnering with New England Swimming / USA Swimming to offer the Water Safety Days in July 2022 at select locations across the Commonwealth.

“We want visitors to our designated swimming areas to have fun while cooling off from the summer heat, but we also want to stress safety and the importance of taking precautions to keep yourself and your family safe this summer,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “Our lifeguards are a valuable resource, but we also count on the public to take an active role in watching their children when they are in the water, using caution when swimming at unguarded beaches, and utilizing safe swimming practices to avoid a tragedy.”

“Sadly, every year our detectives respond to numerous drownings at beaches, lakes, rivers, ponds and family pools, and many of these tragedies could be prevented,” said Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “We urge parents to get swimming lessons for their children and, once at the water, to not let them out of their sight. And we remind all swimmers and boaters that using alcohol or narcotics, even marijuana, compromises your ability to do those activities safely.”

“Swimming is a great way to beat the heat and stay active,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “But it must be done safely, which means brushing up on your swimming skills, sticking to places where swimming is expressly permitted, and always having a buddy who knows where you are in the water at any given time.’’

Additionally, DCR is continuing to recruit lifeguards at its inland and coastal beaches, as well as swimming pools, which are set to open later this season. This year, the Baker-Polito Administration increased the hourly rate for lifeguards to between $21 and $26 depending on position and associated certifications (last year’s starting rates were $20 for lifeguards and $21 for head lifeguards). The agency is also offering a $500 retention bonus that will be provided to lifeguards who continue to work for the department through the end of the season. To learn more about lifeguarding opportunities, please visit the agency’s lifeguarding webpage.

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration open DCR-managed spray decks early, which will remain open for the summer season. To learn more about water safety, please visit the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) website

###

Media Contact for Waterfront Services Throughout the State Parks System Starts Memorial Day Weekend

Department of Conservation & Recreation 

DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
Feedback