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Lifeguard shortage may impact local pools

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Posted at 5:38 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 17:38:25-04

BALTIMORE — Pool season is right around the corner and a lot of people can't wait to dive in the water.

However, if you're going to a local pool, there may be something in the way of that activity — a lifeguard shortage.

The problem stems from COVID-19.

During the pandemic, facilities were closed down, training came to a halt, and more people got content with working from home, rather than going to an office or in this case a pool, to do a 9-5.

"We are continuously recruiting here at the Y in Central Maryland. So, we can get guards and train them and have them ready. When we have positions open," said Amy Gantz-Cheatham, YMCA Senior Executive Director, Towson.

Child development counselors say the pool plays a major role in children lives during the summer.

They say it helps kids stay out of trouble by providing them a place to stay cool and participate in activities.

"As adults we need outletsm" Gantz-Cheatham said. "Children need the same. It's important that they have the option to be at the pool to cool down and be around peers and to learn how to swim. It can help them mentally."

Many pool facilities understand the importance of children having access to pools during the summer, which is why Baltimore Recreation and Parks made some adjustments to get the positions filled.

"We've been working with several different agencies to try to recruit lifeguards. We gave a $3 raise to lifeguards, and we offer swim lessons to young adults so they can one day become lifeguards," said Nikki Cobbs, Aquatic Manager, Department of Recreation & Parks.

However, if positions don't get filled, the YMCA in Baltimore County and community pools in the city are prepared to make some changes.

They may cut back on the amount of swimmers they take to ensure there is enough lifeguards to watch everyone.

Another possibility is adjusting their pool hours and taking 30-minute breaks to make sure the swimmer and lifeguard ratio is safe.

The YMCA and city pools are both looking for lifeguards and they offer training.

If you would like to apply to the YMCA visit http://ymaryland.org/careers.

Additionally, if you would like to be a life guard for the Department of Recreation & Parks, visit https://bcrp.baltimorecity.gov/aquatics.