Local pools seeking more lifeguards as summer approaches

Pools across the region are ready to open for the summer, but many towns and counties are still looking for lifeguards to staff them.

At the Sprain Ridge Pool in Yonkers, operators say they're still short a few dozen lifeguards as the summer 2021 grand opening approaches on June 25.

"We need lots of things, but first and foremost we need lifeguards for us to be safe," said Peter Tartaglia, First Deputy Commissioner for Westchester County Parks. "If we don't have enough guards, we won't open certain sections. We're not looking to do that, but we're never going to open anything we can't protect safely."

Tartaglia says he hopes that once schools let out and summer begins in earnest, more young people will sign up to become lifeguards.

The county says that they will need multiple lifeguards on hand at least five days a week, and the newest way they are recruiting for the summer of 2021 is by lowering the age requirement to 15 years old. The starting salary is also increasing from $15 to $16, and if you're a new lifeguard who needs training, the Parks Department says there is no vision requirement and recruits have up to 45 seconds for the 50-yard swim. They also need to swim 200 yards in less than 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

"We help you get your certification," Tartaglia said. "We walk you through it, we get you to the classes, we make the process a lot simpler as well."

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