MINNEAPOLIS - It was easy to find people playing volleyball at Wirth Beach on Saturday.
People along the beach itself? Not so much.
Despite the weather, Brian Shipley brought his two kids out for some fresh air. Although it was more of a "play in the sand" kind of day, being safe around the water was still top of mind.
"I think it's the same kind of common sense parenting you have anywhere you are. You always keep an eye on them whether it's at the playground, or at the mall or crossing the street," Shipley says.
Last year, there was a shortage of lifeguards in Minneapolis. This year, they've hired 110 of them to patrol beaches, reaching their hiring expectations in mid May. They say they want everyone to take note of signs posted that show when lifeguards are on duty.
"Eight of our 12 authorized beaches will have lifeguards regularly throughout the season. Anyone in Minneapolis can find a guarded beach any day between today, June 8th and Sunday, August 25th," says Sarah Chillo, Aquatics Specialist with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation board.
It was in July that a six year old boy drowned at Wirth Beach in four feet of water last summer. According to the Minnesota DNR, there were 39 non-boating drownings across the state all of last year.
Chillo says a drowning doesn't always look like what you might think. "A drowning can look very loud and frantic or it could be very quiet and passive. Some people will be very quiet because they're gulping and they're only getting water. They can't scream," she says.
Chillo says it's important that parents do their part this summer to help lifeguards. "If you're a parent and you're at the beach, or at a pool with your child, make sure that your head is up and that you're looking at your child," she says.
The city of Minneapolis is offering water safety clinics at Wirth Beach and Lake Nokomis this Summer. A total of six clinics will be held, starting on June 24th. You can register online.
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