Popular swimming spots are coming up with creative solutions to combat a regional shortage of lifeguards.
“It’s a good little beach to go to," Ronald McClendon, who went to Lake Ontario beach to spend time with his kids, said. "The people are good, they’ve got playgrounds around her, picnic areas, and houses, it’s nice.”
That’s why he and others we talked to were concerned to hear about the shortage.
“I think its important that there are people trained for those situations, in case there's an emergency," Beachgoer Brittany Distefano said. "I would hate to see a child drown, or hear about it in the news, just because there’s a shortage of life guards.”
It’s a trend Monroe County’s Director of Parks Larry Staub says they started noticing last year.
“In this competitive job market, you’re looking at students in college who tend to do more internships than things that’d be considered to be summer employment.” Staub said.
So Staub says they got creative, and got two of his employees certified to train lifeguards in house.
“We now can do the testing ourselves, and the training, so it makes it easier for us to do.” Staub said.
And they’re not alone. The Y.M.C.A is also having trouble recruiting.
“We have so many pools and water facilities throughout the Y, that we need to make sure every patron here is safe.” Y.M.C.A Aquatics Director Phil Baretela said.
That’s why they’re now offering free lifeguard certification classes that can normally be as expensive as $200.
“We’re finding just getting people trained, coming into the Y and working for us, is a benefit," Baretela said. "We believe everyone should know how to swim, and be safe while swimming, so we make it a priority.”
And the results for both organizations seem to be working. The Y is filling up their certification classes quick, and the beach is fully staffed this summer with 25 lifeguards.
“It makes me feel safer when I’m out here with my children that they took it open themselves to bring more people here for the safety of others.” McClendon said.
You have to be 16 in Monroe County to be a lifeguard, but must be able to swim 300 yards continuously, retrieve a ten-pound brick from the bottom of a pool and tread for two minutes without your hands.
Those interested in a certification class with the Y.M.C.A can call 585-341-3102 to register.