SAN ANTONIO – A lifeguard shortage could limit your pool fun this summer as waterparks, beaches, city pools and fitness organizations are experiencing a low number of applicants for lifeguard positions.
Crystal Vega, the YMCA aquatics director, says there are many factors to the shortage, and it’s affecting the state and nation as the communities continue to reopen.
“Obviously, lifeguarding is a hands-on job. If you do need to save someone’s life, you are face-to-face with them. You know, you would be giving them rescue breaths or compressions if needed,” Vega explained.
Fear over COVID-19, the fact that some school districts are finishing school later and even a delay in visas for international students are all impacting the issue.
The City of San Antonio is trying to draw in candidates too. Lyn Kinton, Parks and Recreations manager for the city, says they’re blasting ads on social media, banners and yard signs all over, but they’re still short in applications.
The city is helping to train candidates to take the certification needed. Other organizations are paying applicants to train. Those companies can offer bonuses and pay increases, but for cities and non-profits, it has been challenging to compete, although they, too, raised wages.
“We tried to be as competitive as we can. We increased it a little bit this year -- what we can and what the market allows each year. But this year, it’s been a struggle all over,” Kinton said.
Pools won’t close, but they will stagger hours when they are operating.