Biloxi looks for lifeguards as nationwide shortage continues
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Do you remember when sitting in the lifeguard chair and being a lifeguard was one of the coolest jobs out there? Apparently that’s not the case anymore. According to national numbers, there’s a lifeguard shortage in America.
“We saw this trend starting to happen before COVID, and it was a concern to us here as well as at pools all across the nation, and I think COVID just enhanced that,” said Jamie Lee, assistant recreation director in Biloxi. “We’ve had reports out of New Orleans that out of 20 pools or so, they’re only able to keep seven or eight of them open, so pools are closing down across the nation.”
In Biloxi, they’re working on pre-testing lifeguards, and they tell us even if you want to be a lifeguard but may need some work on the requirements and the testing, they’ll be happy to work with you to get you ready to watch over the pool.
“We’re open from 5 a.m.-8 p.m. throughout the week, and that’s a lot of hours that people can come and swim, and we want to make sure they’re safe in the water,” Lee added. “Not only for them, but we also have the first graders coming in, we have the swim teams in here, so we’re busy. We’ve got to make sure we have people here that can respond to an emergency if needed.”
They’ll take just about anyone as long as they’re willing to participate, go through the training, and commit to sitting in the stand.
“We want to get the word out that if you’re interested in being a lifeguard, just come and talk to us,” he said.
There’s one more lifeguard pre-testing session Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Biloxi Natatorium. It consists of a 300-yard swim, treading water for two minutes and a 10-pound brick retrieval. From there, lifeguard classes begin next week.
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