Friday, July 2, 2021, Texas: As Americans head back to beaches and pools this summer, there is a new warning for families: Swim at their own risk. Some parts of the country are experiencing a dire lifeguard shortage. Pool openings were actually delayed in Texas with reported that hundreds of lifeguard jobs were still available in early June.
Tom Gill, Vice President of the U.S. Lifesaving Association, said, “There’s no substitute for safety, and the lifeguards are a part of the safety chain. The pandemic is largely to blame for the shortage. Towns are not able to hire, train, and certify new lifeguards fast enough, just as more Americans are flocking to waterfront destinations for the summer.”
Some pools have closed due to staffing shortages. A few facilities have posted notices on Facebook and websites turning away eager pool-goers. In Austin, Texas, the rapidly growing city is trying to stay afloat with just 250 lifeguards registered with the city compared to 750 in a typical year. “We just don’t have the time to get the lifeguards trained and on the payroll for this summer,” said Jodi Jay of Austin Parks and Recreation.