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Long Island lacks lifeguards, pools run out, camps scrambled

Kubia Ayana Walters has been swimming since she was 6 months old.

Becoming a certified lifeguard was a natural part of her 18-year-old living in Baldwin.

“I was trying to find a job related to swimming, but the best job I can think of would be fun,” Walters said after taking a lifeguard training class in New York at Rockville Center. Told.

She seems to have no problem hiring.

There is a shortage of certified lifeguards, both on Long Island and across the country. Local swimming pool, beach club and camp managers say it’s the worst we’ve ever seen. According to experts, the COVID-19 pandemic has a lot to do with it for several reasons, including the closure of training classes last year.

“I’ve never experienced it in my life. I’ve been doing it for 10 or 11 years and I’ve never faced such a shortage,” said Lifeguard Training NY, a Valley Stream-based business. Owner Motti Eliyahu states the time lifeguard class.

Due to a shortage of guards, some pool facilities will be closed or shortened.

To make lifeguards more competitive, employers raise wages, pay for training and qualifications, and in some cases also pay for rooms and food.

In some cases, the salary is doubled.

“I’ve seen $ 30 an hour,” Eliyaf said.

The minimum wage on Long Island is $ 14 an hour.

Low wages for lifeguards are a big issue, according to Tom Gill, a spokesman for the American Lifesaving Association in California, who represents lifeguards in waters such as beaches and lakes.

“It’s a heavy duty job and people just want to pay them to get up and get a tan,” he said.

Southampton’s Sandy Hollow Day camp has one lifeguard / counselor during the summer and is looking for another, but the biggest need is to have water managers, said camp director Beth Hughesbury. Stated.

“I haven’t had a season like this for years. It was virtually impossible to find someone,” Barry said.

At this year’s camp, she said she was prepared to raise the aquatics director’s hourly wage from $ 25 to $ 30, publicize the job in a big way and pay the discoverers.

The camp is also willing to pay for training water safety instructors for water quality managers, Barry said, which costs about $ 500.

The New York Beach Club on Atlantic Beach has eight acres of seaside facilities and two pools, said Bob Sands Executive Director.

Although salaries have been raised, the nature of the company’s business as a high-end private venue adds another challenge, he said.

“We need a proper lifeguard. We need the ability to understand service and hospitality, not just sitting in a chair,” Sands said.

Normally, clubs will be fully staffed by April, he said. At this point, the club has six of the eight lifeguards it needs.

YMCA in Long Island has six pools, said Anne Bridges, president and CEO of Glen Cove-based nonprofit organization.

YMCA has 100 lifeguards, but needs an additional 30.

“If you don’t get the number of lifeguards you need, you need to reduce your working hours,” says Bridgestone, raising the starting salary for YMCA lifeguards from $ 15 to $ 17 or $ 18, depending on location. I added that it was done.

According to experts, the shortage of lifeguards has been going on for years, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem for several reasons, experts say.

Among them is the fact that some parents do not want their teens to work during a pandemic.

In addition, more and more people are unable to pass through the underwater parts of the lifeguard class because they are sick after staying home for a year due to a pandemic, Eliyaf said.

Another factor is that in various industries such as restaurants, stores and hotels, many employers struggle to find hourly workers.Some employers have people pandemic rather than work. He accuses him of choosing to receive a related enhanced unemployment benefit.

This may not have a direct impact on teenage workers, but more jobs give you more choices.

The YMCA is actively advertising jobs, but the current employment environment is difficult. Organizations are fiercely competing with restaurants and other employers that offer more incentives such as employment bonuses.

“I think people are really creative because they recognize how fragile the labor market is,” she said.

16-year-old Dana Spira was in a lifeguard class with Walters on Sunday.

According to Woodmia residents, she has already worked as a lifeguard at a camp in Pennsylvania this summer.

Spira earns $ 200 from a three-week job.

“I’m not doing it for my salary, I’m going because I have friends,” she said.

With numbers

Nationally certified lifeguards:

  • January-April 2021: 83,685 people
  • January-April 2020: 51,811 people
  • January-April 2019: 98,570 people

Most of New York’s lifeguard training is conducted by the American Red Cross aquatic training provider, said Nichole Steffens, Red Cross Training Services Manager.

Long Island lacks lifeguards, pools run out, camps scrambled

Source link Long Island lacks lifeguards, pools run out, camps scrambled

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