DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The water park at Point Mallard is now open for the 2023 season. Friday, many families were there to check out the pool, lazy river, slides and diving boards.
“It’s the place to come have good family time,” one man told News 19. He said his family was in from out of town and staying at the Point Mallard Campground. He said they couldn’t resist cooling off at the park on a hot afternoon.
Nicole Belcher, the Marketing Director for Point Mallard and Decatur Parks & Recreation told News 19, the water park has already been busy since it opened for the season at the end of May.
In addition to the water park, she said a lot of people have been enjoying Point Mallard’s other amenities. “We also have an 18-hole golf course and a campground over here, lots of picnic space, we have bikes that they can come and rent and spend a full day doing just a bit of everything,” Belcher said.
The water park is open every day in June and July, with seasonal hours in August and the first week of September.
If you are looking to get the best bang for your buck, Belcher suggests visiting earlier in the week. “Monday through Thursday, we are actually half price so you can bring your family out and enjoy it.”
“Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are full-price days for us,” she added.
Belcher also said Point Mallard is still hiring for a variety of positions.
“We do everything from gift shop to customer service, food service with concessions, we have maintenance, lawn care,” she said. “We’ll continue to hire all summer long.”
Of course, you can’t have a water park without lifeguards.
“I don’t think you can ever have enough lifeguards,” Belcher said.
She said they are still hiring for this season, so that way they can “accommodate everyone’s availability.” She said since most of the lifeguards are teens, many have other summer jobs or activities they are juggling, so the more guards the better.
Belcher said Point Mallard started its hiring process for lifeguards back in February. She said they offer Red Cross training, and that there will be one more training course coming up this month.
She said Point Mallard is actually well-staffed when it comes to lifeguards, which is opposite the national trend.
“We’re experiencing a critical national lifeguard shortage,” said Wyatt Werneth, a spokesperson for the American Lifeguard Association.
Werneth said “over 309,000 parks and pools” are at risk of closing or reducing hours due to a shortage of lifeguards.
He said being a lifeguard has lost its luster for teens and other young workers over the years, and the industry has really suffered post-pandemic.
“People started gravitating to other jobs,” he said. Werneth said more young people are looking at influencing, working remotely, or working in restaurants and retail.
He said the downward trend of people becoming lifeguards is alarming. “We have lifeguarding in our name, we’re protecting lives,” he said. “Lifeguards are there to help you have a better, safer summer.”
Werneth said he hopes in the future people take the job of being a lifeguard more seriously, and consider it a life-long career.
He said the life-saving skills lifeguards learn, are as important as EMTs and other first responders.