Avalon Harbor to feature new inflatable structures for children

“Inflatables in the Bay” program will return to Avalon with a few additions in June 2018.

AVALON — Avalon’s City Council, on Feb. 20, approved the placement and authorized the purchase of three additional inflatable pieces for the South Beach inflatable structure, called “The Cliff,” and a new two-piece structure on Middle Beach, consisting of a “base” and “slide.” The “Inflatables in the Bay” program was introduced during June of 2017 and became a favorite with local and visiting children alike.

The city is expected to spend about $7,980 on the inflatable structures, which are manufactured by Wibit. In all the new “Inflatables in the Bay” program would take up an additional 30 feet of surface water – 10 feet at the South Beach location and 20 feet at Middle Beach.

In April 2017, a five-piece inflatable play structure was approved to be placed on South Beach. At this time, an additional smaller inflatable play structure proposed to be placed on Middle Beach. The smaller structure was geared toward younger children, but there were some reservations at the time due to concerns about how it might affect the harbor.

The play area was debuted in June of 2017 at part of the Kid’s Day in the Bay event, which also included water polo, standup paddleboarding, kayaking and other waterfront activities for children to enjoy.

“City Council did approve the addition of one inflatable piece to the existing structure at South Beach and a smaller two-piece system on Middle Beach geared to the younger children,” Dan Huncke, Community Services Director for the city of Avalon, told The Log.

“In regards to complaints, last year the only things we heard were foul language at times and pushing on the structure,” Huncke continued. “This year we hope to address that by having staffing mixed in throughout the course of the summer to address those concerns. No part of the harbor was blocked as the structure was placed inside the pre-existing seasonal swim line.”

A city staff report to council members stated trained staff would monitor the “Inflatables in the Bay” program.

“To enhance etiquette on the inflatable structures on South Beach, staff is proposing to have a presence on the water periodically with a city of Avalon Recreation Leader on site to assist in curbing the pushing and language on the equipment,” city staff stated. “The Recreation Leader would interface with the County Lifeguards and act as an extra set of eyes on the swimmers.”

In addition to introducing a recreation leader, staff anticipates that this could be a candidate that participated in Junior Lifeguard program “with strong personal water skills, and the ability to identify a distressed swimmer and notify a County Lifeguard if needed.”

Capt. Steve Powell, head of the Los Angles County Lifeguards, was reportedly contacted about the “Inflatables in the Bay” program and would revise his staff patterns to better handle the demand of the floats and inflatables, city staff stated in its report to council members.

Over the course of the summer in 2017, minimal injuries and issues were reported with lifeguards reporting just two injuries – a bloody nose caused by a knee and a shoulder injury to an adult.

Signage posting the rules, with input from County Lifeguards and PARSAC, were placed in visible locations. The rules prohibit: throwing or skipping rocks; jumping or swimming opposite of the swim line; pushing or shoving on the floats or inflatables; and, other rules in association with Kid’s Day in the Bay. Lifeguard on-duty hours are also posted.

“Despite heavy use, staff believes the inflatable structures held up well,” city staff stated in its report to council members. “The only issues experienced were with some of the connectors that held the pieces together (two on each structure) failed and had to be replaced. In addition, small leaks on two seams on the ‘Bridge’ occurred in late summer. Wibit replaced the ‘Bridge’ with a new piece.”

The play area will return to the waters the first weekend of June, coinciding with the 2018 Kid’s Day in the Bay event and the arrival of the Los Angeles County Lifeguards.

Boating activities in Avalon Harbor would be able to continue without interference from the “Inflatables in the Bay” program.

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