NYC opens public pools, cuts swim programs due to lifeguard shortage

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
NYC opens public pools, cuts swim programs due to lifeguard shortage
Right now New York City has yet to fill more than half of all its lifeguard openings. Derick Waller has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City opens its pools to the public Tuesday, even though it still has half of its lifeguard positions open to fill.

That means swim programs and water aerobics are canceled, but the pools are open.

The Parks Department prepped 51 city pools to open Tuesday, and they'll remain open through September 11 every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with an hour break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

But you can expect changes due to the massive lifeguard shortage.

The city says they will evaluate the staffing situation on a daily basis and if needed, they will limit capacity or in a worst-case scenario, close some pools that don't have enough staffing.

"I wish that there was a junior lifeguard program," lifeguard Janet Fash said. "I wish that the high schools were more involved in the recruitment of lifeguards for the future."

Mayor Eric Adams says recruiting efforts continue.

"We're still leaving no stone unturned," he said. "We have a couple of creative ideas we are going to put in place to deal with this national problem. I want to always emphasize that, this is a national problem that we're facing."

The shortage means that for the second year in a row, the city's "learn to swim" program is canceled.

The mayor says one idea is to loosen the requirements to boost the lifeguard ranks so they can reopen those swim classes.

ALSO READ | Experts urge swim lessons, water safety to prevent child drownings

As more local pools and parks are re-opening from pandemic shutdowns, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging families to provide swim lessons.


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