Salt Lake County recreation centers short some 200 lifeguards

May 10, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:00 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTYA major lifeguard shortage at Salt Lake County recreation centers is forcing swim hours to be cut back.

The big worry is that this shortage will not allow some of the outdoor pools to open by Memorial Day.

“We’re currently in dire straits,” said Nate Greeff, program manager with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, who also helps train lifeguards.

Greeff says right now, they need to fill 200 to 300 lifeguard positions in order to fully open up their nine outdoor pools.

“That’s one of the parts that hurts the most, to be honest. It’s such a good sport. It’s such a good thing to do with your time,” he said.

At the Gene Fullmer Fitness & Recreation Center in West Jordan, the kids pool is not able to open until 3 p.m. because of a lack of lifeguards. And swim times at many rec pools are experiencing the same cut backs.

Rachel Norton, who has been a life guard for five years, says she loves her job and can’t understand why more teens and young adults her age would not be interested in a fun summer job.

“It’s really surprising to me because being a lifeguard is so fun,” she said. “In some cases, when you don’t have enough lifeguards, it feels a little bit unsafe up on the stand, because I don’t know if all my lifeguards will be there to help me in a stressful situation.”

Greeff says one major benefit to being a lifeguard is that you learn skills that will be with you for the rest of your life.

“We’re asking for a little bit of aquatic skills. We’re asking you to learn some first aid skills, or CPR, but we’re going to walk you through that,” Greeff said. “It’s such a good experience to say, ‘OK, I can save lives now.’”

Greeff says the pay has recently been bumped up to $14 an hour during training, and then you start making $15.45 an hour and can make up to $18 an hour.

Click here if you are interested in applying.

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Salt Lake County recreation centers short some 200 lifeguards