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The hot summer months are fast approaching, and one of the most popular things to do in Germany is spending those days at one of the many pools or lakes. Thousands flood the lawns in public pools every year, and most communities have at least one outdoor pool.
Most of the outdoor only pools open by mid to end of May and stay open all the way through September. They all offer at least an Olympic style pool and often have a kiddie pool and or fun pool in addition with slides and spouts.
The outdoor pools “Freibad” often are equipped with playgrounds and bistros and have big lawn areas for relaxation and tanning. You can also bring your own food and drink.
German pools have lifeguards on duty, the Bademeister, usually dressed in white; they will walk around the pool and keep an eye on things. The will usher warnings for jumping in shallow pools or misbehaving but are also responsible for water quality, swim classes or equipment rentals and, of course, rescue.
One of the things you may notice at German pools, people are more open to nudity; small kids often run around naked and getting changed on the lawn is a normal thing. You may even run into topless sunbathers… so, definitely something to get used to. Also keep an eye on posted schedules at your local pool; they often offer swim classes, refresher courses, rescue classes or event days. If you are not a fan of sitting with nude Germans, avoid anything with the label FKK. That stands for “freie Koerper Kultur” nude body culture.
Badeseen or public lakes have gained in popularity, too, over the years. Often located outside the cities, they are quieter and much more tranquil than the crowded pool in town. Lined with sandy beaches or nearby wooded areas, the lakes are very inviting, perfect for a day out and a picnic. Be sure to check for any signs around to confirm swimming is allowed. The downfall to the lakes is that most the time there won’t be any lifeguards on location.
The DLRG „Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft e.V.“ that is responsible for lifeguards and rescue is working on getting more guards out there, but so far they are only at a few locations.
Here are their safety tips for lakes and rivers:
- Don’t let your kids swim and play in unknown waters
- Let the kids cool off before entering the water
- Call your kids out of the water if they start showing signs of being cold
- Leave the water immediately when thunderstorms are coming in
- Stay out of grown over shores and swampy area
- Stay out of areas frequented by boats and ships. No swimming around bridges, dams, water locks and drains
- Be aware of waves and breakers when swimming in the open ocean
- Unknown shores can harbor dangers
- Keep an eye on your children and the currents; be sure they stay inside designated swimming areas if there are any
- Only let your kids jump into the water if you have confirmed it is free of debris and deep enough
picture by DLRG
*translated off the official DLRG website: https://www.dlrg.de/informieren/sicherheitstipps/offene-gewaesser.html
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