‘Swim at your own risk:’ Waukesha County transitions to beaches without lifeguards starting August 15

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- As lifeguard staff availability changes, the Waukesha County Parks lifeguard-staffed beaches at Fox Brook Park and Menomonee Park will begin to transition to "Swim At Your Own Risk" beaches beginning Thursday, Aug. 15.

“Switching the beaches to all Swim at Your Own Risk allows us to extend the swim season for residents and visitors for as long as the weather will allow,” said County Executive Paul Farrow. “The park beaches are a great place to stretch out the summer fun before school begins.”

A thick layer of sunscreen isn't the only protection Chrystal Howe relies on when coming to Fox Brook Park.

"It's nice having the comfort of the lifeguards actually being here," said Howe.

Fox Book Park is one of only two beaches in Waukesha County that are still staffed with lifeguards in the summer.

"It's getting more and more difficult to get enough staff in order to sufficiently and safely make sure that our lifeguards are all available," said Rebecca Mattano, Waukesha County Parks manager. "We've had to reduce the amount of life-guarded beaches that we have."

With most of the lifeguards planning to head back to school, Fox Brook will become a "Swim At Your Own Risk" beach starting Aug. 25 -- meaning no lifeguards for Labor Day weekend.

"It's just kind of a bummer that they won't be here," said Howe.

Mattano said it's the best way to extend the beach season for families, given their staffing limitations.

"We haven't had any major issues with it," said Mattano. "I think the families are also enjoying that quality time with their children."

Howe said without lifeguards, adults need to keep an extra eye on the water.

"I'm going to be a little bit more on edge," said Howe.

Swim At Your Own Risk beaches will be open daily from sunrise to sunset. Waukesha County Parks staff will continue to conduct regular daily maintenance of the beach, restrooms, and surrounding areas.

Water quality testing will also continue, and water quality signs will be posted. All swimmers must stay within shallow water section only, which is designated by rope and buoys. The designated roped area does not include the deep section at locations with docks/rafts/diving boards.

Officials noted children require close adult supervision at all times.

2019 End-of-Beach Season Schedule: (Pending water quality and water temperature)

      Menomonee Park, W220N7884 Townline Road, Menomonee Falls

          Fox Brook Park, 2925 N. Barker Road, Brookfield

      Swim at Your Own Risk (S.A.Y.O.R.) Beaches will continue through Monday, Sept. 30