Tampa (Fla.) Parks & Recreation is urging anyone interested in lifeguarding this summer to apply, as the department is facing a shortage of personnel heading into the busy season.
According to Tampa.Gov, a nationwide lifeguard shortage is affecting public pools across the country. The trend has hit Tampa Parks & Recreation Aquatics, which has led to many vacancies in year-round and part-time positions.
The City of Tampa has eight pools open year-round and four seasonal pools that open in the summer. The Parks and Recreation Department employs more than 90 lifeguards each summer season.
According to the International Lifesaving Federation, certified lifesavers and lifeguards rescue more than one million lives each year. The shortage of lifeguards could result in reduced hours, capacity requirements, and fewer swim lessons at City of Tampa pools.
"Safety is our number one priority and a lifeguard shortage has and will continue to require us to make adjustments in our pool schedules in order to achieve safe swimming opportunities for the public," mayor Jane Castor said. "We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen."
Lifeguards and swim instructors are a fundamental part of the layers of drowning prevention. More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the CDC reports that for children ages 5–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.