City of Charleston trying to fill lifeguard shortage ahead of swim season

VIDEO: City of Charleston trying to fill lifeguard shortage ahead of swim season

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -There could be fewer chances to jump into the water at Charleston’s public pools this season if the city isn’t able to address a shortage of lifeguards.

The city is 20 seasonal lifeguards short, recreation director Laurie Yarbrough said. Without enough staff, pool hours could be reduced and resources may end up being reallocated among the different pools.

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help, either. Last year, the city wasn’t able to have any lifeguard certification classes.

Yarbrough said she doesn’t want to see a valuable community resource like the public pools not be able to open at full capacity this season just because of staffing issues.

“We are just really desperate to make sure we open our community pools at full schedule,” she said. “Last year we were open but not at full schedule, and it just seemed like we didn’t teach lessons and the community wasn’t out there as engaged, and I know folks are ready to get back in their city public swimming pools.”

Lifeguards must be 16 or older and strong swimmers. Certification is also required, but the city is covering the costs for anyone who needs it.

The city is also offering a $200 sign-on bonus for lifeguards who work the whole summer.

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