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Lifeguard Shortage Affecting Bay Area Cities as Summer Approaches

There’s a shortage of lifeguards nationwide.

The city of San Jose said Wednesday that it has enough lifeguards to keep pools open as planned this summer. But that’s not the case in other Bay Area cities, some are short dozens of lifeguards and are now forced to cut swim hours.

Swimmers in Santa Clara will have fewer chances to get their water workouts in this summer. That’s because the city is short about 40 lifeguards.

Santa Clara’s recreation manager says without enough lifeguards, recreation swim days at some city pools must now be cut from six to two days a week. The city is also offering fewer swim lessons.

“It’s really a disaster, the pool is the place where everybody can go, and we do need lifeguards”

The nationwide problem is hitting Bay Area community pools hard.

“There’s absolutely a shortage,” said Jeremy Shoffner, Recreation Supervisor for the city of San Jose.

Lifeguards are in such short supply. At the Camden community center pool in San Jose, when one called in sick Saturday, the city had to shut down open swim for the day, and summer hiring has been challenging.

“We have seen less applicants. Usually, we have 50-70 annually. This year, we have 22,” Shoffner said.

Shoffner told NBC Bay Area that San Jose will keep all city pools open as planned this summer because it hired just enough lifeguards. He credits the fact that they started recruiting in February, reaching out to students directly at local high schools and college and offering incentives.

“In our first round of interviews if they commit, we train them free of cost,” he said.

At the wave in Dublin, recruiting was also tough this year. Recreation manager Andrea Dwyer said there’s a lot of competition for good employees.

“We’re looking at Chick Fil A, Target, Starbucks and they may get a Target discount but this is a way to save lives while tanning this summer,” she said.

Despite the challenges, Dwyer said Dublin has hired 60 lifeguards so all swim programs and the wave will be open as planned this summer.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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