ANSBACH, Germany (June 7, 2016) – Summer, though not officially here, is practically here in Germany and the rest of the northern hemisphere. Submersing your body in the cool of a lake or pond or river may seem like a great idea during the heat of the moment, but the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Safety Office would like to remind community members that Army personnel are only authorized to swim in certain swimming areas.
According to a memorandum released May 25, 2016, which you can find at www.ansbach.army.mil/Policy31WaterRec.pdf, the listing of authorized and off-limits water recreation areas applies to all military members, Department of Defense civilians and their Family members assigned, attached, employed by or living at USAG Ansbach.
The Army has lost eight Soldiers in the past two years to drowning and water-related activities, according to the memo, and part of prevention is identifying those bodies of water that are authorized and those that are off-limits because of safety or health concerns.
The memo notes that public swimming pools, either indoor or outdoor, are authorized. There is caution however for Americans visiting German pools that use Bademeister (or pool supervisors), who do not provide continuous monitoring of the pool. Parents and guardians must be aware and responsible for their children at all time, and weak swimmers should never be left alone.
For swimming in still outdoor bodies of water like lakes or ponds, the memo provides a list of authorized and off-limits lakes and ponds, which is duplicated at the bottom of this article. Furthermore, water quality in lakes and ponds may drop after significant rainfall.
As for rivers, the memo says they should not be used as swimming areas except during supervised sporting activities or like events when lifeguards are on duty and lifesaving equipment is at hand.
The memorandum lists the responsibility of Soldiers and DoD civilians, that they should:
- Ensure all Family members are aware of off-limits water recreational areas and comply with the policy letter;
- Swim in only approved swimming areas and never swim alone;
- Avoid the “terrible toos” when swimming: being too tired, too cold and too far away from safety, and getting too much sun, too much strenuous activity, and too much alcohol;
- Refrain from participating in water-related activities after the consumption of alcohol since alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, affects swimming and diving skills, and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm;
- Maintain constant supervision of children whenever around water;
- Ensure proper and safe behavior at public swimming facilities;
- And remember that as Soldiers, DoD civilians, and Family members we are ambassadors of our government and our country and must act accordingly.
The following are the authorized swimming areas in the Ansbach area:
- Ansbach Aquella (indoor and outdoor)
- Dinkelsbühl’s Wörnitzbad
- Feuchtwangen city pool (indoor and outdoor)
- Flachslanden local pool (outdoor)
- Gunzenhausen Freibad (outdoor)
- Gunzenhausen Hallenbad (indoor)
- Gunzenhausen Altmühlsee (lake, only in approved outdoor recreation area on weekends and German holidays with supervision present)
- Gunzenhausen Brombachsee (lake, only in approved outdoor recreation area on weekends and German holidays with supervision present)
- Heilsbronn local pool (outdoor)
- Herrieden local pool (outdoor)
- Leutershausen local pool (outdoor)
- Lichtenau local pool (outdoor)
- Neundettelsau Novamare (indoor and outdoor)
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber Hallenbad and Waldschwimmbad
- Weihenzell local pool (outdoor)
- Winsbach local pool (outdoor)
The following are the authorized swimming areas in the Illesheim (near Storck Barracks) area:
- Bad Windsheim local pool
- Bad Windsheim Franken Therme (indoor and outdoor)
- Burgbernheim Waldbad (outdoor)
- Colmberg local pool (outdoor)
- Neustadt an der Aisch city pool (outdoor)
- Uffenheim local pool (outdoor)
The following are off limits to U.S. Army personnel and their Family members:
- All other lakes, canals and sand pits.
- Soldiers Lake at the entrance to Urlas Community and Shipton Kaserne
- Rivers unless specifically for a sporting or similar activity with qualified lifeguards on duty and lifesaving equipment available.