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NYC Parks & Recreation canceling swim programs due to lifeguard shortage

The Parks Department announced it would be cutting swim programs at New York City pools due to a "national lifeguard shortage."

News 12 Staff

Jun 15, 2022, 10:37 AM

Updated 739 days ago

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The Parks Department announced it would be cutting swim programs at New York City pools due to a "national lifeguard shortage."
Due to the pandemic, programs like Adult Lap Swim at NYC outdoor pools were cut. The Parks Department now says it won't be back this summer after a two-year hiatus.
Instructional classes Senior Swim and Learn to Swim are also among the programs cut this summer.
The department told News 12 that it has been a challenge to recruit lifeguards who meet the city’s requirements. They say the pandemic has made recruiting hard as well.
The lifeguard shortage is not just happening in New York. States across the country have reported trouble hiring and retaining lifeguards.
The state of Massachusetts raised the pay for lifeguards from $21 to $26 and even offered bonuses for returning lifeguards.
In New York City, lifeguards make $16 an hour, according to the Parks Department website.
One former parks employee says that cutting programs can worsen already existing racial disparities in swimming ability since many low-income communities might not have access to private pools or be able to afford swimming lessons.
Lifeguards tell News 12 that raising wages would bring in more recruits and incentivize current guards to stay rather than opt for private pool positions. Outdoor pools will remain open each day for general swim from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and from 4–7 p.m.
The department continues to train and certify lifeguards up to the July 4 weekend.


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