Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (WCIV) — The soothing sounds of running water will soon be replaced by children splashing in the pool at Splash Island water park in Mount Pleasant.
As maintenance crews clean the swimming area, Nikki Bowie, safety program manager for Charleston County Parks, inspects the perimeter before a crowd arrives on Saturday.
"A big thing that we like to tell the parents is even though you're at the water park with lifeguards, you still need to supervise your children. So the lifeguards are there as a last level of defense, but you should know where your children are at all times," Bowie said.
She’s responsible for making sure all levels of precautions are in place.
"If you or your child don't know how to swim, we have life jackets available for free that we can put on you," she said.
A near-drowning March 19 at a lazy river at a North Myrtle Beach hotel resort has raised awareness of Charleston County Parks officials.
During that incident, a boy opened a drain cover and became stuck underwater for nine minutes before being rescued by police responding to the scene. He was in stable condition following the incident.
Bowie said the Charleston County Parks have safety precautions already in pace.
Bowie explained as she pointed to drain grates in the lazy river at Splash Island. She said each grate is reinforced according to federal guidelines.
It was a chilling scene she hopes will never happen here as parents and kids return to Charleston County water parks for another season of fun.
"Please ask the lifeguards, ask the supervisors, we'd be glad to talk to you," Bowie said.
Charleston County Parks uses 200 lifeguards at its three water parks, and about 70 lifeguards at its three beach parks including Folly Pier. County officials say every lifeguard is certified, and they take part in training sessions throughout the season.
Splash Island in Mt. Pleasant and Whirlin’ Waters in North Charleston will open on weekends only through
May. Splash Zone on James Island is temporarily closed until upgrades are completed.
Officials expect it to open by Memorial Day.