Apr 26, 2024 - News

Lifeguards in demand in Philadelphia

Illustration of "Help Wanted" written at the bottom of a pool.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Philadelphia still needs lifeguards to fully staff its public pools this summer despite netting hundreds of applications last week.

Why it matters: Staff shortages in the past year reduced pool hours and caused closures.

State of play: The city requires about 400 lifeguards to staff more than 60 public pools from June-August.

  • About 250 applications came in before last week's deadline for a $1,000 end-of-summer bonus, city spokesperson Andrew Alter tells Axios.
  • This is the city's second year offering that financial perk to combat a yearslong lifeguard shortage.

Yes, but: Those who apply by May 15 are still eligible for a $500 bonus.

  • The city won't be offering any additional incentives to attract lifeguards.

By the numbers: 61 pools are expected to open this summer, including the indoor pool at Lincoln High School in Northeast Philly, Alter says.

Meanwhile, 10 pools are expected to remain closed due to maintenance or, depending on funding, renovations, per Alter.

Flashback: The city had 366 lifeguards working for it last year and operated 61 pools on split schedules because of staffing shortages.

Between the lines: Pools offer relief from Philly's ever-rising summer heat and provide a safe place for some young people to gather when shootings and homicides typically increase.

What they're saying: Alter says the city is committed to fully staffing pools this summer.

  • "City pools give relief from the heat, offer families affordable summer fun, and provide free swim lessons to thousands of children each summer."

How it works: Lifeguards must be at least 16 years old and complete free training and screening.

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