Tell your kids that if they are looking for a summer job that involves water and sun, they can almost certainly get a job as a lifeguard.
Because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, lifeguard training that normally would have occurred this spring was put on hold, so there is a real shortage of qualified lifeguards in just about every region of the U.S. And although the summer is now in full swing, the situation is so desperate that it’s still not too late to get the training (likely free) for lifeguard certification that lasts two years.
In fact, in a statement on nationwide lifeguard shortages, the American Red Cross said it will offer certification extensions and allow training providers to offer provisional courses.
That means lifeguards could take an online class now and complete in-person skills at a later date.
Just about every state in the country has announced that they can’t attract enough lifeguards to operate their aquatic venues normally, and public waterparks are no exception.
For example, the Alameda Waterpark, in Butler County, Pennsylvania, was forced to delay opening by two weeks, due to inability to fill positions on time. The county is offering a new program that they hope will spur interest in lifeguarding. Employees will be paid anywhere from $10 to $12 per hour and also get $1,600 in incentives, including certification fees, referrals, a complimentary family pool pass, and more.
In Mundelein, Illinois, the Barefoot Bay Aquatic Center is open daily, although capacity is limited to 60%, or about 900 bathers, for a safe ratio of swimmers to lifeguards on duty.
To fill the open lifeguard jobs, the district started a recruiting campaign and is offering incentives that includes signing, retention and referral bonuses, free fitness center access and paid training. They also plan to close certain areas and reduce hours or open at reduced capacity.
The Cascade Bay Waterpark in Eagan, Minnesota, is breaking up admissions into two sessions per day – 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., then 3-6:30 p.m.
Themainreasonforthereducedcapacity is a lifeguard shortage, but cleaning will also be done between sessions.
At The Del Mar Waterpark, Aurora, Colorado, kids feel lucky if they are one of 150 allowed inside of the waterpark during 90-plus degree days. Wait lists are three hours or more. Facility operators said they are rotating staff schedules at public pools and water parks, sharing staff and moving staff between pools. Until they have enough guards to stop rotating staff, Aurora has had to shut down some of their pools for certain days of the week.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Maryland Farms Waterpark is short 30 lifeguards and is offering a $300 signing bonus, and increased pay rates. They are also ready to provide flexible schedules for lifeguards to accommodate summer vacations.
The Siouxnami Waterpark, Sioux Center, Iowa, needs 65 lifeguards but only 52 signed up. Returning lifeguard Gabe Moeller, 17, said some former lifeguards are looking for other jobs that could further their careers, while others don’t want to go through the recertification process. The park will pay the $175 class fee for lifeguards who commit to work there.
In Vista, California, the Wave Waterpark has planned to open weekends only. Typically, they hire about 200 people during a regular summer season, but the staff this summer consists of about 70 people, mainly lifeguards and guest services. “We were able to do virtual hiring events with some of the local high schools,” Wave Waterpark Supervisor Jesus Torres said. “Usually we like to do in-person visits, but due to COVID, we weren’t able to do in-person this year.”