HOUSTON – City pools across the nation are dealing with staffing issues and struggling to find lifeguards for the summer.
This morning, the City of Houston held an evaluation training for people who want to save a life to make sure they are qualified for the job.
The city has 37 public pools which are scheduled to open on May 28, and the aquatics manager says they need more lifeguards.
There is a shortage not only impacting our area but the nation as well.
On this hot day in May, the Eastwood Park pool would be the perfect place to beat the heat but there’s one thing missing.
“Right now, we need lifeguards. We need people to take these summer jobs. We have roughly about 150 vacancies as of today,” Leroy Maura Jr said.
The pandemic kept people out of the pool and lifeguard chairs were empty.
Before the shutdown, Senior superintendent for Houston Parks and Recreation Leroy Muara Jr. says they would hire about 180 people during the summer. The numbers are much different this year.
“Before COVID, we would have 150 returning guards as opposed to the opposite. At this time, we had 24 returning guards from a staff of 50 last summer so now we are kind of behind the eight ball,” he said.
The lifeguard shortage is happening across the nation and Maura says very few people are applying for the jobs in Houston.
On Saturday, he held a screening to make sure applicants were skilled to save a life. Applicants had to swim 300 yards nonstop, retrieve a 10-pound brick from 9 feet of water and then swim for 20 yards and tread for two minutes.
Johnathan Johnson is already a lifeguard at the YMCA and wanted to work for the city. He passed his screening and is excited to continue doing something he loves.
“When I started off, I wasn’t the best swimmer,” he said. “When I got to YMCA I just did laps and over time I got better at it.”
Applicants must be 16 years old before May 31, 2022, be able to pass a standard lifeguard swim evaluation and an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training, and have a lifeguard certification and reliable transportation.
Maura says things are getting back on track and staffing shortages are tough. He’s working to create a roving schedule so Houstonians can enjoy the pools this summer.
“And however, many staff we have we are going to move them to sections of the community to get the pool,” he said.
“There will also be another screening on May 14 from 10 a.m. to noon.
If you would like to apply for a lifeguard position, click here.
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