MADISON, Conn. — State parks and community pools have been faced with a lifeguard shortage this summer.
Officials reminded beachgoers to be mindful of this especially for those who are not good swimmers.
Will Healy with the Department of Energy and Environment said he is unsure whether the pandemic is to blame, but it could also be a possibility.
"Some of the inland state park areas like Burr Pond State Park is one example. Indian Wells State Park is another one where ... we may not have enough guards there and as staffing allows, we might be able to have guards," said Healy.
Currently, the state is staffed at 63-percent for lifeguards and would normally fill up eight state parks. This year, however, remained at five or six so far. He added because of the shortage, some parks might only have lifeguards three days a week versus five days.
Healy said many times, the 40 hours of training and requirements make people change their minds in moving forward with the position.
"It's not just kick your feet back up kind of a job and catch a tan, there is a lot of responsibility involved so that may deter people," added Healy.
When it comes to community pools, the shortage is seen there as well.
East Hartford, though, has been lucky with a total of 53 lifeguards so far and said they are willing to share their lifeguards with other districts.
"Some will pass, some won't. we have people who lifeguard test and they can't swim so yeah, we need bodies. we'll give them to other towns too if we have extra staff
DEEP shared these tips for anyone visiting a park with no lifeguards:
- Children should always be monitored by an adult
- Watch your alcohol consumption - too much can impair swimming
- Be cautious of underwater hazards
- Wear a life vest or take swimming lessons
To check which beaches do and do not have lifeguards, click here.
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