City Government

Time For Lifeguards At Esther Simplot Park

Ponds at Esther Simplot Park invite swimmers, but offer no protection.

The Tragic death of the 15-year-old refugee this week highlights the need for lifeguards at a public swimming hole. Perhaps his death will send the signal to immediately get lifeguards at the Esther Simplot Park and Quinn’s Pond. Even the local swimming pools have lifeguards.

Local promoters and politicos have long touted the benefits and beauty of the Boise River. Tubing has been banned due to high flows this season and firefighters have been busy cutting “strainer” trees–all for public safety.

Meanwhile Quinn’s Pond has opened for swimming this year as a city park and no lifeguards are on duty.

To its credit, Boise’s Park Department was diligent in closing one of the ponds polluted with e-coli–for public safety. The same precaution for public safety would dictate immediately hiring lifeguards for Quinn’s Pond.

The pond is big, so more than one guard may be needed, but a simple tower and perhaps another guard patrolling in a kayak would do the job. We would venture a guess that a couple of lifeguards a day would be much cheaper that the efforts expended cleaning up the river or even outfitting a couple members of the Fire Department dive team to pull dead bodies from the water.

Reader Mark Williams photo shows either lots of people using life vests, or a need for more at the empty rack at Quinn’s Pond Friday.

Kids in water with no life vests.
–Mark Williams photo

If money is the issue, perhaps Boise could take a lesson from the Australians: Their lifeguard service is staffed with volunteers.

Since we still have some hot summer days ahead, push your city councilors and Team Dave to “git ‘er done” NOW!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Great post Guardian. Although, I’m not sure “refugee” has any valid part in the description. What “label” shall we use when a really old fisherman drowns when he drops out of this fishing boat?

    Let’s recognize there are many people here in Boise, from other places where swimming is not a part of their culture- whether from Detroit, L.A., or Uganda. Add to that the outdoor adults- occasionally exhaustion or just bad judgment can lead to death.
    Our local water should be a safe place for everyone to have some fun. We all have some shared responsibility to that goal- more than just lessons at the YMCA.

    For example, Greenbelt volunteers drive the golf carts around helping out. Where can I sign up Boise Parks?

    Boise Parks needs to do more than just lifeguards though– Boise Parks needs to be promoting water safety at all their facilities.

    A lifejacket loaner station is an easy step as well for all locations. I have not seen such a thing at the river put-in for the forgetful people.. maybe there is one.

    CPR message boards, and other reminders would be easy to install.

    We know Boise’s response will be the same as the “Danger Ahead” sign on the river from previous summers. They won’t do much if anything- other than shrug the liability.
    Maybe the tragic drowning of a child will change something.

    Boise Police wants to “Protect. Serve. LEAD”. Here’s their chance to actually lead.

  2. I’ll add, Idaho Rivers Sports is sitting right there and reaping huge benefits of that pond and park, along with a few other business nearby.
    hint. hint.

  3. Let’s let the kids swim. The life jacket loan idea is great. A lifeguard would be a great idea and could be funded by your dollar going through the gate. (Install gate.) User fee. But, those who are too poor to pay could work up their entrance by picking up garbage and dog poo. But they’re seven years old. So, it is a parental responsibility, as most things are.

    Anyone could drown. Even the best swimmer could go under. The most cautious could succumb.

    Easterner, you’re needing another outlet – how about volunteerism to put your ideas in to action?

  4. A couple of comments about the ponds and swimming… Back in the day they were called clock tower before the clock tower at the apartments were torn down.

    I train with many other triathlon folks in those ponds. I love it now because they put a distance guide by the put in. But every year I am totally shocked about how many people are in the pond that don’t know how to swim. I am for sure not the strongest swimmer, but can get by… but no way would I go into the ponds without a wet suit. But every year I see all ages of people that go into those ponds that have no business being in any water. Clock tower is so big unless you have many life guards from 8 AM to midnight I really don’t think it would help. Cold water and about 0 visibility.

    Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years, and the fifth leading cause for people of all ages. The city of Boise has great swim classes for a min. cost of around $30.00. at all of the public pools. I see all of the parents put kids in all kind of sports classes but no swimming. Why? I guess soccer is more sexy I guess…

    I think the answer is to have the life jacket check in and signs up if you are not a strong swimmer to not go in. Lucky peak is the same. No life guards but signs and a life jackets check in.

    At some point people have to take personal responsibility. What happened with the 15 year old was a terrible accident. But every year we have kids get drowned even in private pools. Learning to swim is the key I think.

    EDITOR NOTE–Porc, you are totally correct about swim lessons. I have been told there are some tentative queries being made with the YMCA acting as the catalyst. For the immediate issue with hot summer days, I am suggesting at least a couple of guards– at least one in a kayak. That may happen.

  5. Several of us were training in Clock tower Sunday and I saw several young children out in the deep water with “noodles”. As I went by I asked where their parents were and they pointed to the dock. I asked if they knew how to swim they said they had the “noodles”

    I think maybe good parenting lessons should go along with swim lessons. ( these kids were not refugee)

    Thanks for talking about this Guardian…. Every death is tragic, especially when it is a child’s. Drowning accidents in most cases are so preventable.

  6. Common Sense
    Jul 27, 2017, 1:01 am

    Here is a novel idea: parents watch your own children in the water.

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