Waterford Oaks Waterpark to stay closed for 2021 season

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Waterford Oaks, one of two large water parks in Oakland County, will stay closed for the 2021 summer season because of a lifeguard shortage.

Oakland County Parks, which runs Waterford Oaks, held a job fair last week but still wasn't able to hire enough lifeguards. 

"We appreciate the patience of our dedicated staff who have been working since January to recruit and hire staff for all our facilities,” said Susan Wells, Oakland County Parks' interim executive director, in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, lifeguard recruiting has been an issue the last few years in the county, state and nation. OCPR will not operate a facility if we are unable to provide the adequate safety level for our guests and staff.”

Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Township has a wave pool, water slide and other features.

The announcement comes just days after Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights finally opened for the summer season, but with limited capacity and some attractions closed because of staffing issues. 

Both Waterford Oaks and Red Oaks were closed last year because of COVID-19.

Across the country, cities, states and private beach owners are struggling to find enough lifeguards this year, especially in states where beaches are only open seasonally. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, there are likely between 30,000 and 50,000 lifeguards at beaches in the United States and more are needed.

Red Oaks Waterpark had enough staff to open June 23rd, but capacity is limited to 1,000 people a day. The park, which unveiled a new splash pad feature this year, is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Its concession stands and River Ride are closed this season.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com