Lifeguard shortage impacting cities, towns

Communities working to overcome lifeguard shortage
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - State parks need lifeguards. The shortage also hitting some cities and towns around the state.

Others aren’t having issues.

All three of Waterbury’s pools are ready for the summer. All of them under the watchful eye of some of the 40 lifeguards on the roster.

Victor Cuevas, the city’s supervisor of recreation, says it helps they’re well paid. “Two years ago, we went up to 15, last year we went up to 17-50.”

He adds they have an aggressive recruiting campaign, starting before winter. “We’re out recruiting in October, November. October, November, December, by January we already have a soft list of probably about 50 kids. some are, most of ‘em will be certified, some are not.”

It’s a different story just up the road in Watertown, where they have three public swimming areas. However, due to a shortage in staff for the last two years, swimming here at Sylvan Lake Park has been suspended.”

Watertown’s Recreation Supervisor Garry Smith says they’re only down four lifeguards this season, but it’s just enough for sylvan lake to be closed again.

He says interest is there, but their availability isn’t enough to cover everything.

“Much as I’d like to, if I could have ten kids who could fill in hours, but there’s no way you can work around everybody’s schedule to fill up the time, in our case, at the lake. there’s no way it’d work,” said Smith.

So, this year, only the pool at crest brook Park and the High School are open.

Smith says it’s too late to try to hire more lifeguards, but he’s hoping to have a full roster next year. “I’ll keep putting it out there that we’re looking for lifeguards for the summer. We’re gonna offer the class again in the spring and if we can fill up the class again maybe we can fill up the lifeguard jobs again.”

Waterbury pools are all open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., including Hamilton Park Pool, Fulton Park Pool, and Washington Park Pool.

In Watertown:

Crestbrook Park Pool - open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Watertown High School - open Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

You can keep in touch on lifeguarding opportunities on each city’s websites: