Record lifeguard numbers in NYC

July 2, 2009 1:18:55 PM PDT
For those planning to hit the beaches in New York City this holiday weekend, the parks department says it has plenty of lifeguards to protect you.Lifeguards are making waves at the beach, and for the first time ever, every tower at Rockaway Park will be occupied. That's because a record number of people applied and were hired for the job, more than 1,200.

Among them is Beth Romano, a Wellesley College graduate who first tried to find work in publishing but couldn't because of the economy.

"I saw that the test for the city was in March," she said. "I took it. It was my backup job, but it became my only option."

Lifeguard Adrian Lugo welcomes the traffic.

"More younger kids are coming in, a few more adults," Lugo said. "It's good pay and a great job."

In the past, because officials kept missing their mark, only able to hire about 950 lifeguards, they were forced to close certain beaches for safety reasons.

"There are currents, so if you are swimming out there, you may be swimming in the wrong direction," lifeguard Bill Weintraub said. "We have people on surf boards to make sure you don't get hurt."

Now that the numbers are up, you'll be able to enjoy stretches of sand on Coney Island and Rockaway Beach that typically have been closed because of the shortage in manpower. Many other are now opening up.

The news was a ray of sunshine to beach goers.

"If there are lifeguards, I know I still have to watch him," parent Krizie Taverez said. "But you know it's more safe."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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