BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Lifeguard shortage could limit pool hours, delay openings

May 10, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2022, 8:45 am

Photo Marc Giauque, KSL Newsradio...

Photo Marc Giauque, KSL Newsradio

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A lifeguard shortage could mean limited hours at Salt Lake County indoor and outdoor pools as the summer months approach.

Lifeguard shortage

It’s due to the numbers of applicants that Nate Greeff, one of the aquatics directors for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, says has slowed to a trickle. 

“Historically, we get a lot of high school students,” he said. “We have seen them come in in large waves before this point, and what we’re looking at right now is a lot less than what it would be in the past.”

Greeff said like many other places, their dealing with a national worker shortage, and competition from employers who can offer more money. 

“Pretty much everybody is hiring right now,” Greeff said.  “In an answer to that, we’ve been expanding our pay rates.” 

Trainees will now be paid $14.00 per hour. When they complete training, the pay will increase to $17.00 an hour. 

Incentives 

Greeff said Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation is working on incentives to help make the job more attractive. These incentives include parties and an aquatic “TikTok” challenge.

The county operates 10 indoor recreation centers, with pools, and nine outdoor pools.  The outdoor pools typically open around Memorial Day. Without more lifeguards, though, Greeff said hours could be limited.

“We would have to restrict the opening of some of our pools,” he said of the lifeguard shortage. “We would have to prioritize a few pools to make sure that we could serve as many people as we can.” 

Greeff said the north end of the county is where they have the fewest applicants. 

Anyone who is interested in applying can go to the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation website

Without enough lifeguards. Salt Lake County Parks says some pool hours could be restricted. Photo Marc Giauque, KSL Newsradio

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Lifeguard shortage could limit pool hours, delay openings