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Lifeguard Shortage Impacting Traver Lakes
Posted on Jun 12th, 2019
In a recent article, the American Lifeguard Association said the lifeguard shortage is worldwide, caused by a convergence of issues, including teens taking other summer jobs, foreign lifeguards worried about visa problems and an abundance of public pools.
Life guarding, local officials have said, just doesn't carry the same cachet it once did with teens, and some are even frightened of the lifesaving responsibility the job carries.
But, with 309,000 public pools nationwide and only 34% of the 16- to 19-year-old population working — down from 52% in 1998 — even with increased pay and certification reimbursement these efforts haven't been enough.
The teen labor force participation rate has dropped to 34% from 52% in 1998. (Photo: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
For a few years, Fisher said, pools dealt with the shortage by recruiting overseas lifeguards for the summer. Young people with swimming skills who wanted to visit America could get short-term work visas if they took the job.
However, he said, that solution is no longer as effective because of concerns that those visas could disappear and fears by applicants that foreigners are unwelcome.
Now, Fisher said, many communities are now turning to baby boomers to fill their lifeguard chairs. Retirees looking for something to do and who love going to pool realize that they "don't need a 'Baywatch' body" are stepping up