NYC is struggling to survive summer 2022 lifeguard shortage

Lifeguards around the Big Apple fear a drop this summer – in their corps numbers.

With a third of pools and beaches in the US poised to close this summer due to a lifeguard shortage, New York City is entering the same uncharted waters for the warm-weather season.

“As across the country, recruiting enough qualified people to meet NYC lifeguard requirements has been a challenge, and the impact of the pandemic on recruitment continues,” NYC Parks spokeswoman Crystal Howard told The Post adding, “At this point, we plan to have all pools open.”

However, an insider familiar with the situation confirmed to the Post that, as in recent years, NYC is seeing fewer and fewer lifeguards watching out for the swimming crowd in their towers.

The city will also have a clearer record of lifeguard numbers by the weekend of July 4, when training is complete, the source added. By that time, NYC waters will be correspondingly less busy than before.

Lifeguards are hard to find across the country these days.  New York is no exception.
Lifeguards are hard to come by across the country these days, and NYC is no exception.

As the department anticipates a daily headcount this summer, it also needs to be flexible when it comes to opening sections of beaches and pools. That’s in addition to what water programs can be hosted, the diver added.

“We know that New Yorkers depend on our pools and beaches during the summer – and we remain committed to keeping our facilities open and usable,” Howard said.

This also follows a Department of Investigation report that cited “13 recommendations to address deficiencies in the management and operations of the Lifeguard Division,” the city reported.

This Baker’s dozen proposed changes focus on improving the Corps’ disciplinary system to deal with rule-breaking lifeguards. The DOI recommended the use of “intermediate managers” to “strengthen supervision” for parts of the area.

Changes to the city's lifeguard corps were proposed by the Department of Investigation.
Changes to the city’s lifeguard corps were proposed by the Department of Investigation.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

Although the DOI released its hot water report in December, none of the proposals have been fully implemented, according to the outlet.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the DOI to implement the report’s recommendations,” Howard told the city. NYC is struggling to survive summer 2022 lifeguard shortage

Emma Bowman

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