- by cnn
- 30 Nov 2023
As people flock to beaches, lakes and pools this Memorial Day to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, the swimmers are here - but the lifeguards aren't. At least, that's what some parks departments and agencies around the country are saying as they scramble to find and keep lifeguards on duty for the season.
In New York, it takes around 1,400 lifeguards to keep the city's beaches and pools fully staffed, and officials are feeling the staffing strain.
"This number includes a second shift of lifeguards to cover early morning and late-night swim programming at pools, which we are not able to accommodate this year," New York City Parks press officer Gregg McQueen told CNN.
Like communities across the country, the city's lifeguard ranks were severely depleted by losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, McQueen said. Many public swimming venues were shut down during the pandemic and some certified and potential lifeguards found work elsewhere.
With over 200 new recruits and over 280 returning lifeguards currently going through the certification process, McQueen said the city is hoping to reach similar staffing levels as last year, when it had about 900 lifeguards.
The parks agency is focused on keeping the city's pools and beaches open this summer, he added.
Thea Setterbo, director of communications for District Council 37, the union representing many of New York's lifeguards, told CNN the current shortage is consistent with national trends.
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