Lifeguards needed to avoid pool closures

Higher wages than last year offered to attract applicants
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 4:31 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - From city to city, parks department struggle to lure potential lifeguards ahead of a busy summer season.

“The lifeguards... we still need about 12 to 13 guards to get us at the bare minimum,” Green Bay Recreation Manager Ann Moeller explained.

As we first alerted you, the Green Bay Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department never fully opened all three of its pools last summer even as heat advisories scorched the area. Moeller said the city faced years of severe seasonal staffing shortages.

Colburn Pool needs eight lifeguards on duty to ensure safe swimming throughout the entire facility but the magic number shifts depending where you are.

“Joannes Aquatic Center needs 13 lifeguards at any given time and Resch needs 10. That’s just to staff for that day so obviously we need to have more on staff to cover a seven-day work week,” Moeller said.

The Resch is the only pool with a full lifeguard staff on deck but there are still other positions to fill.

“We are still accepting applications and still interviewing for the facility attendant which does our concessions, our admissions, our slide attendant.”

Come June, the department plans on looking at its staffing and make a game plan. Unless at least 13 more applications roll in, you could have to pack up the towel and flip flops, at least for a little bit.

Moeller said, “Then we’re gonna have to look at possible closures, meaning there might be a few days a week where we’re closed just to give our guards that are on, a break.”

The city is boosting its pay for seasonal workers in an effort to attract talent. It’s a story we first covered earlier this year.

“For the lifeguard positions, it was a substantial pay increase so our lifeguards will make between $16-18 an hour. Starting last year it was in the $12-13 an hour range,” Moeller said.

Facilities attendants make $13-15 an hour.

Moeller said despite ongoing challenges, the staffing situation is much better than years prior.

“But we still need quite a few bodies who are very interested and strong swimmers who are looking to take on that lifeguarding role!”

Green Bay’s pools are set to open June 10, staff dependent.

The city is still accepting applications for this summer. You can find open positions and job descriptions here.