It's a photo that was snapped by a concerned beachgoer Saturday at Woodlawn. It appears to show a lifeguard at the beach, looking down at a cell phone while on duty, and it's concerning some at the beach.
— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) August 10, 2016
Candice Price snapped the photo. She is a trained lifeguard and says she was upset when she noticed the female guard paying no attention to the water, and the dozens of people in it.
"I noticed she was on her cell phone," said Price. "Their rotations seemed to be about an hour long and she was on and off her phone the entire time."
We took the photo and Price's concerns straight to the Town of Hamburg, and showed Martin Denecke, the Director of Recreation for the Town of Hamburg. Denecke says in no way should a lifeguard be using their phone on the job, unless it's an absolute emergency.
"Surveillance is the most important part of the lifeguard's job, and using a cell phone for any personal reasons is totally prohibited," said Denecke.
Price says she noticed lifeguards often chatting with each other, instead of looking on the water. She says the setup, with two guards to a chair, seemed off to what she calls effective lifeguarding.
"The best way to have lifeguards guard is to spread them out," she said. "Any conversations should be kept to 30 seconds max."
"They should have one person on the chair, and on the walk in front of the chair, that would be the proper place to be," Denecke said.
Price says she hopes the lifeguards will realize that while on the job, they're responsible for more than just their lives.
"I hope that management does address this issue and talk about how big of an issue this is," Price said. "I hope this lifeguard realizes she can't do this again. Maybe next time something would happen."
Price says there were other lifeguards who were doing their jobs, but it was the texting that caught her eye.
Denecke says he plans to have a meeting with Woodlawn officials to address these allegations, and proper disciplinary action will be taken if necessary.
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