Summertime fun seeks out a refreshing water respite with temperatures towering in the 100s. If you are fortunate to live near a river, lake, or ocean where you can take a plunge when the sun zaps your energy, then the soothing water can wash over you for revival.
Unfortunately, many do not have the luxury of pristine nature to revive their weary summer souls. Some live in metropolitan areas without a functioning swimming pool due to a lack of lifeguards across the US US lifeguard shortage may mean summer pool closings – ABC News (go.com) and Canada Across Canada, a shortage of lifeguards raises concern about the next generation of swimmers (msn.com). The aftermath of the pandemic still has a stronghold on some community events.
Like a boat adrift at sea, some populations are surrounded by water but it is not advisable to swim in it or drink it. “Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink”, the modified quote for Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner points to a dilemma of trying to be refreshed from a nearby water source.
Some areas have designed creative ways to provide a swimming area where polluted or dangerous waterways are the abundant sources of nearby water. New York, for instance, created as many as 15 “floating baths” along the East and Hudson Rivers. The rectangular pontoons held changing rooms, offices around the perimeter with a hollow center for river water. Moored at the ends of streets near tenements districts, public neighborhoods gathered to bathe and learn to swim. The modern Floating Pool Lady is still offered free to the public.
Berlin has its own version of the floating pool, The Badeschiff. The English translation is the bathing ship. It does not have a children’s swim area and is designed for accomplished simmers and was opened in 2004 to reinvigorate an unused area of the Spree because the Spree is too polluted for recreation. There is a bar and often DJs spin tunes for participants. There is a 7 Euro fee for a two-hour time slot. Badeschiff Berlin – Spree – Swimming pool – Stadtstrand Berlin (arena.berlin)
Whether you have a fun place to hop in the water near you or you simply make it a priority to stay hydrated, please stay safe this summer. We do live near a fast-flowing river and there have already been a couple drownings this year. Be cool in your pool.