CEDAR PARK, Texas - The lack of lifeguards is impacting pools across Central Texas and some of your favorite swimming spots might even be closed this summer because of it.
With the temperatures on the rise and summer just around, some pools might not be as available to those looking to escape the heat then in the past.
"This year like all communities around us, this year has been challenging to recruit lifeguards to allow us to have all of the pools fully operational," Cedar Park spokesperson Jennie Huerta said.
In Cedar Park, they're still looking to hire 22 fully-trained lifeguards. While their two big pools are staffed, this need for more lifeguards is impacting the other city pools. "Buttercup Pool is our smaller pool and is slated to be weekends only so far this summer," says Huerta.
Cedar Park isn't the only city experiencing this. The city of Austin has reported a lifeguard shortage as more than half of its city pools remain closed. Austin is even offering incentives, such as hundreds of dollars in bonuses. The city of Georgetown plans to have a hiring fair for lifeguards soon.
- City of Georgetown pool hours modified due to lifeguard shortage
- Austin City Council member launches lifeguard recruitment effort
- Lifeguard shortage could shutter a third of US public pools this summer
To draw in more applicants, Cedar Park has raised the pay for lifeguards from $9.40 to $14 an hour. "We really just encourage anyone who is interested to apply and see what it's all about," Huerta said.
There's a reason why lifeguards are so important to have at pools. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drowning cases for children remains high.
"It remains sort of the number one cause of death for children between the ages of one and five resulting in nearly 400 deaths per year as well as nearly 7000 emergency room visits related to drowning as well," CPSC chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said.
Without a lifeguard on duty you can expect city pools to be closed. If you're interested in being a lifeguard, most cities have applications on their websites which detail the pay as well as any other incentives.