Across the nation, cities big and small have been struggling to find lifeguards to staff public pools leading into the summertime session — and New York City is no exception.
The Parks Department announced Tuesday it will not be hosting many of its swim programs this year due to staffing shortages.
That means swim programs, including lap swim, senior swim, and “Learn to Swim,” will be shuttered at the city’s outdoor pools this year.
The American Lifeguard Association estimates more than 100,000 pools across the country will be impacted by a lack of lifeguards.
The city experienced a similar shortage last year, causing it cancel the outdoor swimming programs. Then, the city said the pandemic disrupted regular training and recruitment of lifeguards.
Outdoor pools, however, will remain open each day for general swim from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In an appearance on "Mornings On 1" Wednesday morning, Mayor Eric Adams said he planned to speak with Parks Commissioner Susan Donoghue about a “creative way” to address the shortage.
“We just saw, recently, the death of two young people,” Adams said, referring to the two teenage boys who drowned after a sandbar collapsed underneath them in Jamaica Bay last week.
“We’re going to examine that. I’m going to reach out to Parks and figure out, how can we continue the instruction?” he added. “We have to have young people learn how to swim. We have a major problem across the country with lifeguard shortages.”
“There aren't enough kids taking swim lessons so the pool of candidates for lifeguards is shrinking," said Mary O'Donoghue, who runs the aquatics division for the YMCA in New York City.
She added that low pay and a high cost to get certified are other detractors.
The YMCA is offering to cover the cost for lifeguard certification, which can cost between $400 and $500 usually.