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NYC lifeguard shortage up ahead


Gotham is going to need a wave of applicants to avoid a lifeguard shortage again this year.

The city is on track to hire about 900 seasonal lifeguards for the upcoming outdoor swimming season, which kicks off when Big Apple beaches open Memorial Day weekend, Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

That figure mirrors the number of lifeguards the city employed last summer when there was a shortage that limited hours at some pools and beaches and caused free swimming programs at its 52 outdoor pools to sink.

The city’s outdoor public pools will open on June 29, two days after the last day of public school.

“Our goal is to once again open all outdoor pools and beaches, which we were able to do last year,” city Parks spokesperson Meghan Lalor told The Post this week.

There are currently 200 “new lifeguards” in the lifeguard training program, Lalor said.

In addition to new lifeguards, we will continue to certify returning lifeguards — who typically make up the majority of our corps — through July,” she added.


“In addition to new lifeguards, we will continue to certify returning lifeguards — who typically make up the majority of our corps — through July,” a city Parks Department spokesperson said.
Gabriele Holtermann

A lifeguard watches as people cool off in a public swimming pool in the Astoria neighborhood.
A lifeguard watches as people cool off in a public swimming pool in the Astoria neighborhood.
Getty Images

The American Lifeguard Association says that one-third of the 390,000 parks and pools it works within the US will be impacted by a lifeguard shortage.
The American Lifeguard Association says that one-third of the 390,000 parks and pools it works within the US will be impacted by a lifeguard shortage.
Paul Martinka

As of June 15 last year, the city Parks Department certified 516 lifeguards — a 49% decline compared to the 1,013 hired in 2021 and a 66% drop from the 1,530 lifeguards hired in 2016.

Donoghue announced last month that the city reached an agreement to raise pay for new and second-year seasonal lifeguards to $21.26 an hour.

The city also tossed this life-preserver: Returning seasonal lifeguards who work an average of at least four days a week between July 8 through Aug. 19 will receive a $1,000 bonus.


One water safety expert said New York City is missing the boat by not adapting successful "professional lifeguard" models implemented in places like California and South Florida.
One water safety expert said New York City is missing the boat by not adapting successful “professional lifeguard” models implemented in places like California and South Florida.
J.C.Rice

Returning seasonal lifeguards who work an average of at least four days a week between July 8 through Aug. 19 will receive a $1,000 bonus, officials said.
Returning seasonal lifeguards who work an average of at least four days a week between July 8 through Aug. 19 will receive a $1,000 bonus, officials said.
Paul Martinka

As of June 15 last year, the city Parks Department certified 516 lifeguards — a 49% decline compared to the 1,013 hired in 2021.
As of June 15 last year, the city Parks Department certified 516 lifeguards — a 49% decline compared to the 1,013 hired in 2021.
Paul Martinka

The American Lifeguard Association says that one-third of the 390,000 parks and pools in the US will be impacted by a lifeguard shortage.

One water safety expert said New York City is missing the boat by not adopting successful “professional lifeguard” models implemented in places like California and South Florida where lifeguards are part of the fire and police departments.

“You’re asking Parks and Recreation to be in charge of life safety and medical services. They don’t have the bandwidth or the stability to operate like a professional life-saving organization,” said ALA spokesman Wyatt Werneth.

City beaches and pools close the Sunday after Labor Day.



This story originally appeared on NYPost

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