WEST PALM BEACH, Florida. Summer is approaching and it means time to go to the beach. In many beaches across South Florida, you’ll see them—the lifeguards. Most of the time they sit in their shelters or on their chairs, scanning the ocean—but when a rip tide forms or when a set of waves comes in and sweeps people off their feet, lifeguards can make a big difference—and save lives. The Palm Beach Post recently wrote about how one lifeguard came to the rescue of an elderly couple when they were swept off their feet by a wave while wading near the shore.
While lifeguards do have a duty to protect people who swim, it is understood that there are limits to what a lifeguard can do. Swimmers need to know how to swim before they enter the ocean and children should be watched.
Yet, in Hawaii, lifeguards may lose protection from lawsuits if the government doesn’t act. According to Hawaii News Now, the law protects lifeguards from having to defend themselves from civil lawsuits stemming from beach drownings or injuries. Yet, if the law expires, lifeguards could be held responsible for negligent actions.
It’s a tough balance. Lifeguards need to feel like they have the ability to take the measures they feel are necessary to save lives. At the same time, if a lifeguard is texting while on the job, or is distracted while he or she should be watching the ocean, the lifeguard could theoretically be negligent if someone gets hurt. Their job, after all, is to protect and save lives.
West Palm Beach can have days of calm surf, but when the surf comes up, the ocean can be deadly. As the weather gets hotter, now is the time to make sure that you and your loved ones are ocean safe. Make sure children have received proper swimming lessons. Set ground rules before you go to the beach. And remember that swimming lessons in a calm pool may not always prepare a child for rough surf or the changing tides and moving water of the ocean.
Finally, when deciding where to swim, it is often best to swim with a partner and children should always be accompanied by an adult. If possible, go to a beach where lifeguards are on duty. A lifeguard watching the sea can save your life.
The water and sea can be fun in the summer, but it can also be dangerous for those who are unprepared. Boaters should know the rules and follow them. Pool owners should keep their pools secured so children don’t get inside. If you or a loved one was injured while out on the water, consider speaking to the West Palm Beach, Florida attorneys at Smith & Vanture. Our lawyers may be able to help you seek damages to cover medical expenses and other losses stemming from pool or water-based accidents stemming from another person’s neglect or negligence. Visit us at https://www.smithvanture.com/ to learn more.

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