Local pools and beaches in Virginia are looking to hire more lifeguards. Some local pools are turning to the Red Cross for help.
Jonathan McNamara with the Virginia Red Cross said:
”We’re hearing from many pools across the area that they’re not seeing the numbers that they would like to see in terms of people signing up early to enroll in those American Red Cross lifeguarding trainings."
Britt Cope, the Senior Aquatics Director for the Shady Grove YMCA agrees that more lifeguards are needed for local pools around Virginia because that matches what YMCA pools are seeing.
”It has been slow. We’re not seeing as many applications as we had hoped.”
They are offering incentives to get more people signed up to become lifeguards.
”We will cover the costs of a lifeguard class if you come to us and you’ve never been a lifeguard before, but you meet all of our prerequisites, we’ll pay for you to come and take one of our classes which typically run around 275 or 300 dollars so there is that in addition to working here you do get a membership so you have access to all of the YMCA facilities in Richmond.”
This is not the first year there has been a lifeguard shortage. In 2022, many local pools had to close or adjust their hours because of were no lifeguards available. The lifeguard shortages are not limited to Virginia. The American Lifeguard Association says approximately 150,000 pools across the country have the same problem.
Chrissy Fandel, the association aquatics director for the YMCA of Greater Richmond, says the YMCA says it’s not ruling out having to shorten hours yet.
“Safety is the top priority, so not being able to adequately staff a pool means that the pools hours will be reduced, and amenities will be closed off, and we’re really hoping not to have to do that this summer, but, again, if we don’t have the staff in place it will be something that has to happen.”
Benefits of being a lifeguard
Being a lifeguard used to be one of the best summer jobs. Over the years, it has lost its flavor because of so many other opportunities. However, lifeguards' jobs still have benefits.
Lifeguards' benefits include:
- enjoying the outdoors
- keeping in shape
- helping others
- getting and keeping a nice tan all summer