By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 15, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 15, 2014) -- Summer is on its way and Fort Rucker is getting ready to officially open swim season.
With swim season about to kick off, the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation wants to make sure that people on the installation know where they can and can't swim, as well as to keep safety in mind before they hit the water, said Amanda Orduno, DFMWR aquatics manager.
Splash! is one of Fort Rucker's most well-known swim spots, and it's finally open for the season. Currently only open weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the park will open six days a week from May 26 to Aug. 3, Wednesdays-Mondays.
"Splash! is the biggest recreational pool that we have and we've got a lot of recreational aspects there for Families," said Orduno. "We've got the spray park for the kids, a flume slide, a rock wall and a diving board. We've also got the Tiki Bar for the adults, too."
Splash! is now open to the public and admission is based on military or civilian status. Season passes are also available, as well as pool party reservations.
For more information, call 255-9162.
Another outdoor pool that will be opening for the summer is Flynn Pool, an outdoor 50-meter pool that will only be open for military physical training, fitness programs and swim classes, starting May 26.
Flynn Pool is not open to the public and is for military ID card holders only. As the outdoor pool opens, the indoor pool at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center will close until Aug. 3.
West Beach at Lake Tholocco is Fort Rucker's largest and most popular summer recreational swim area, said Orduno, and will officially open for the summer during Lake Fest May 17, which will run from noon to 6 p.m.
After the weekend festivities, West Beach will open Fridays-Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting May 24 through Aug. 5., and is open to the public. Admission is based on age: 2 and younger is free, ages 3-9 is $1.50, ages 10-17 is $2.25, and ages 18 and older is $3.
Although fun in the sun is the name of the game when it comes to swimming recreation on Fort Rucker, Orduno stressed that safety is No. 1.
"There are no places on Fort Rucker that are swim-at-your-own-risk, and Lake Tholocco is no exception," she said. "Safety is first and foremost."
West Beach at Lake Tholocco is the only place that people are authorized to swim in the lake, and Lake Tholocco is the only lake on the installation that people are authorized to swim.
Lifeguards are stationed at all authorized swim locations during operating hours, so swimming is not authorized during off-duty hours, due to safety, said the aquatics manager.
Additionally, some changes have been made in regards to safety regulations when visiting Fort Rucker's swimming areas.
"Army regulation now requires that people utilizing the swimming facilities on the installation must only use U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation aides," said Orduno. "Any that are considered blow-up devices will not be allowed at the facilities, and that is for the safety of the patrons."
U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are available for children at any of the recreation facilities, so Families who don't have the proper flotation aids can have them provided, she added.
Another change to ensure the safety of Fort Rucker's patrons is the height requirements for the slides at both Splash! and West Beach.
Children must be at least 36 inches tall to ride the slides, and they must be able to swim on their own," said Orduno.
"We want to make sure that our lifeguards don't have to catch any children at the bottom of the slides because that takes their focus away from their duties of watching over the rest of the swimming area," she said. "We just want to make sure that our lifeguards can give their full attention during operational hours to make sure patrons stay safe while swimming."
For more information, call 255-9162.