While the weather may be perfect for a dip in a La Crosse pool or beach, you'll have to do it without a floatation device.
Things like life jackets and water wings are banned from all city pools and beaches for several reasons according to Steve Briggs, the aquatic director in the parks and rec. department.
In an email, Briggs listed the reasons as:
-Life jackets provide a false sense of security by allowing a non-swimmer to enter an area that is too deep causing panic and possibly disaster.
-Without the flotation device(s) the attending adult will stay with the child.
-Inflatable devices are easily punctured or torn by teeth, fingernails and foreign objects.
-A non-swimmer would have a difficult, if not hazardous, situation attempting to regain buoyancy in deep water after slipping off, or out of, the flotation device(s).
-Places a burden on the lifeguard, distracting from his/her guarding duties, to inspect and make sure that all straps and other devices are secure on the person entering the water.
-Should the flotation device(s) fail, the courts would place the liability on the guard, and/or in our case, the municipality for allowing the use of these devices.
-If one individual is allowed a flotation device, then everyone must be permitted to use one, and not everyone has "approved" equipment.
"There is no substitution for being with the child and learning to swim, we really encourage everyone to learn to swim," says Briggs.
Swimmers who are physically impaired and do not have the function of arms and/or legs are exceptions to the floatation device ban.