Providence institutes new city pool rules

Public pools and water parks in Providence are operating under new rules and regulations.

The regulations took effect Monday, at the start of what's expected to be a hot, humid week.

This year, the city has specially trained lifeguards to offer free beginner swimming lessons for children and adults. And each pool is now equipped with 25 life jackets for swimmers.

To get more children swimming, the city is loosening adult supervision rules for some kids.

Children 42 inches and taller can swim alone in the water if they pass a swim test. Last year, children shorter than 54 inches could only be in the water if an adult was in with them.

The city says all children younger than 16 must have a signed permission slip before diving in.

While many applaud the effort to get more children in the water, some fear the rules are too lax.

"I'm not afraid of that at all. We have very competent staff at every pool. We're staffed with certified lifeguards. Every pool has two levels of lifeguards. One senior lifeguard that has three or more years' experience, (and) now we have our board-safety certified instructors as well. We have plenty of pool staff on and plenty of eyes on the water at all times. And we're not concerned about that at all," said Beth Charlebois, of the Providence Department of Recreation.

The Providence city website lists the locations and operating times for the city's pools and water parks and swimming pool rules.