Shortage of lifeguards an issue in some LI communities, not so much in others

Steve Grella runs a Long Island company that helps connect lifeguards with jobs, and says this year he's having a tough time finding people to fill many of the openings.

News 12 Staff

Jun 9, 2021, 12:18 PM

Updated 1,039 days ago

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A lifeguard shortage on Long Island could throw a wrench into summer plans as pools and camps get set to open.
While there is no lifeguard shortage in the Town of Oyster Bay, one lifeguard trainer says the same cannot be said for other places.
Steve Grella runs a Long Island company that helps connect lifeguards with jobs, and says this year he's having a tough time finding people to fill many of the openings.
"Pools and clubs are desperate for lifeguards this year," says Grella. "To the point where we have relationships with certain camps and organizations that are offering to pay 50% or all of the certification costs to get these kids to come out."
Grella believes there are two big reasons why some pools, camps and private facilities are not able to find enough lifeguards for the season.
"COVID and some kids not really being ready to go back to work, and I think everyone's been cooped up for the last year and a half and kids haven't really swam so they're not confident in their swim skills," says Grella.
It's a different story in the Town of Oyster Bay.
Town Clerk Richard LaMarca says pools and beaches are fully staffed. LaMarca says they have almost 250 lifeguards to watch over swimmers at the town's seven beaches and four community pools. He says this year, they expanded their recruiting efforts and advertised more on social media.
"We started much earlier. We started in January of this year because we wanted to ensure that there would be no shortage of lifeguards at our beaches and pools for the upcoming season," says LaMarca.
Grella says for the first time ever he is going to do pre-lifeguard swim classes to help students pass their test.
The state parks regional director says lifeguards are on duty now at Long Island's state parks and beaches and he anticipates they will be sufficiently staffed when pools and beaches fully open later this month.


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