DCR Expands Access to Public Swimming Areas Across the State
BOSTON – In advance of the significant summer heat expected in Massachusetts over the next few days, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced expanded access to swimming areas and issued important personal safety guidance.
“As Massachusetts will experience some of its most intense heat in the coming days, it’s important for people to make a plan to stay safe – including staying hydrated, limiting strenuous activity, and checking in on one another,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’ve expanded hours at DCR swimming pools, beaches, waterfronts and spray decks to allow for more opportunities for residents to cool off. We’re grateful to the workers who are putting in the time and effort to support these extended hours. All of us can do our part to help our friends and neighbors beat the heat.”
“As a former mayor, I understand the unique challenges thrust upon municipal leaders by this kind of weather, and we appreciate their efforts to provide equitable access to climate-controlled facilities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “I echo the Governor and encourage everyone to plan ahead for what is sure to be a hot couple of days.”
As part of the Administration’s commitment to helping residents beat the heat, the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) will extend operational hours across its robust statewide network of pools, wading pools, spray decks, beaches, and waterfronts. For today, DCR pools will close at 7:45 p.m.; beaches and waterfronts will be guarded until 6:45 p.m.; wading pools will operate until 7 p.m.; and spray decks will run until 9 p.m. DCR anticipates similar extended hours for Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28. Swimmers in Massachusetts should only enter the water in designated areas protected by professional lifeguards. A list of DCR guarded pools, spray decks and wading pools can be found here. For a list or DCR’s saltwater ocean beaches click here and for the freshwater inland beaches click here. Check DCR’s park alerts dashboard for any closures of swimming areas due to high bacteria following the recent rain.
DCR encourages swimmers and beachgoers to adhere to the following water safety tips:
Keep a close eye on children near the water. Parents and guardians serve as the first and primary line of safety for their children
Teach children to always ask permission before going near the water
Avoid alcohol or drugs
Don’t dive headfirst in the water
Don’t swim beyond your skillset
If caught in a rip current, don’t swim against it. Swim parallel to the shoreline to escape it and then at an angle toward the beach
If a person in your group goes missing, check the water and notify lifeguards and park staff immediately
The National Weather Service heat advisory indicates that most of the state will experience heat index values of 95 to 104 degrees on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Those hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illnesses.
To reduce the risks of heat related illness including heat stroke and heat exhaustion, residents should:
Minimize time spent outdoors, especially during the hottest parts of the day
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
Seek out air conditioned buildings like libraries and community centers to spend time in; Call 2-1-1 to find locations of cooling centers or shelters near you
Never leave children or pets in the car alone – the temperatures will rise to unhealthy levels very quickly
Check in on neighbors who may need assistance making a plan, including the homebound, elderly, or disabled
As always, call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
“DCR’s beautiful beaches and pools provide a safe place for families and children to cool down from the heat and we are happy to be extending hours at our facilities with this week’s expected oppressive heat and humidity,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “We are grateful to our pool and waterfront staff including our lifeguards for stepping up to help us provide expanded access to our swimming areas for residents across the state. Our staff will be taking extra precautions to watch out for each other and our visitors during this extreme heat.”
“Extreme heat can pose health challenges, particularly for our more vulnerable populations such as older adults, children and those with chronic health conditions.” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Dawn Brantley. “We encourage residents to plan ahead and take common-sense steps to protect against heat-related illnesses, including staying hydrated, keeping out of the sun, checking on elderly neighbors and being aware of nearby cooling centers.”
Massachusetts residents are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information. For the latest updates, follow the National Weather Service Boston/Norton and MEMA on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit Mass.gov for more information on extreme heat safety tips.