Lifeguard shortage cuts Splash Island season short

Fun in the sun is coming to a halt at a Lowcountry water park.
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Fun in the sun is coming to a halt at a Lowcountry water park.

Splash Island at Mount Pleasant Palmetto Island County Park will close for the season on Friday.

The original schedule had the waterpark open throughout next week and weekends through Labor Day.

Officials say recruiting efforts started out solid for staffing lifeguards this year compared to the last few.

Many of the guards are students, either high school or college, and it’s the time of year when they’re parting ways with their summer gig and hitting the books.

Charleston County Park Director Eric Stewart says closing is the last thing they want to do, but safety is their top priority.

“We’re not going to go below that standard,” Stewart says. “We’re not going to put anyone in an unsafe situation. It puts the people there unsafe, our guards unsafe, so when we can’t meet the minimums, we have to make really hard decisions and ones that we don’t like.”

If you have a Basic Splash Pass, you will be able to use it for admission to Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark in North Charleston for the rest of the season.

Hours of operation at Whirlin’ Waters and Splash Zone on James Island remain the same, and Dog Day afternoon event at Splash Island will happen as scheduled, according to Charleston County Parks and Recreation.