NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— There’s a national lifeguard shortage across the nation and so pools are feeling a hiring pinch including the pools in New Orleans. For the past few years because of COVID-19, the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) has experienced a lifeguard shortage.
NORD will open its four year-round indoor pools and five outdoor summer pools starting on Monday, June 6th.
Lots of people love to splish and splash while swimming in the summer, but in order for all of NORD’s City pools to open they need more lifeguards.
“Right now on staff we have 41 lifeguards that are trained and ready to go,” Larry Barabino Jr., CEO of NORD Commission said.
They need between 100 and 150 lifeguards, so NORD’s offering greater incentives.
“We’ve increased the wages from last year when the hourly wage was around $12 an hour to now paying $15.91 an hour for the lifeguards,” he said.
He went on to say, “The funding is available and we just need people to show up.”
The lifeguard shortage means less pools will be open. Pre-COVID they around 13 pools open.
“Right now it is based on having more lifeguards come to NORD,” he said.
The lifeguard shortage is being blamed on COVID-19, lack of interest, and lifeguards aging out.
“One of our challenges is a lot of our lifeguards in 2019, that were high school kids are now aged out but now they are in college or older and they are working elsewhere,” Barabino said.
NORD doesn’t want the community to lose out on summer swimming.
“As we have more lifeguards come on, we’re going to be able to add more days, and we will be able to open up more pools,” he said.
If you’d like to apply to be a lifeguard, you need to be 16 years or older, pass a drug test, and know how to swim. NORD will cover the training and everything else.
For more information on how to apply and for a pool schedule of hours, click HERE.
The American Lifeguard Association estimates a total of 300,000 plus pools are impacted by the current lifeguard shortage.