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Pool opening delays expected due to lifeguard shortage, City says

The City of Austin has already had to adjust operations at some of its five year-round pools, and it plans to open 29 more facilities at the beginning of June.

AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin usually opens more pools for the summer season the first week of June, but it says to expect delays this year due to a lifeguard shortage.

An aquatics supervisor with the City told KVUE that hiring this year has been an incredible challenge, even though they started recruiting and training earlier and have spent more money on advertising.

As of now, only the five year-round facilities are open, and they are already seeing impacts from the shortages.

Barton Springs Pool has been closed on Mondays and Wednesdays due to lifeguard staffing, in addition to its normal Thursday closure. To be a lifeguard at Barton Springs you do need an extra certification to be an “open water” lifeguard, but that only takes about four hours to get. The Deep Eddy Pool has had the shallow end closed on weekdays due to a lifeguard shortage as well. There is no timeline yet for when either of these adjustments will go back to normal.

The City needs at least 750 lifeguards to operate all 34 facilities, and right now it has 200 lifeguards on staff.

It has 500 applicants right now but, in 2019, the City had more than 1,600 applicants and was able to hire 850 lifeguards.

June 6 is when the City usually opens about 20 more pools and then it opens the rest the following week. But these opening dates may be delayed this year due to the lifeguard shortage.

“Deep Eddy and Barton Springs are the main ones that are affected today,” said Aaron Levine, aquatics supervisor with Austin Parks & Recreation. “But in a few weeks when June comes and all the kids get out of school, that's really where we're going to be affected.”

The minimum age to be a lifeguard is 15 years old and the minimum pay is $16 per hour.

Find out how to apply here

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