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City of Longview seeing lifeguard shortage

According to Longview Parks & Rec, lifeguard applications are low. The city is hiring to ensure both of their public pools maintain safe environments for the public.

LONGVIEW, Texas — As the sun continues to beam down you might be thinking about hitting up your local pool. But, a nationwide lifeguard shortage is forcing some local pools to push back opening day.

This has impacted Jack Gense, a Longview city pool manager who’s been a lifeguard for 5 years. 

"To be a lifeguard here is an amazing opportunity," Gense said. "We're all pretty much young and coming out of high school, or in college. So it's a great environment to be around to just meet new people and being involved in the community."

Just like the city, Gense has taken notice of the shortage of lifeguards in his area. According to Longview's Park & Rec Department, the application pool for lifeguards has seen a drastic decrease. 

"I really think there's a shortage due to COVID," Gense said. "It just kind of pretty much hurt everybody's reputation on working and devotion to work. It kind of threw everybody in a loop and put them all at a standstill."

Another factor is that the cost of training to be a lifeguard can really add up, but the city is working to offset some of those expenses.

"The main thing is we got to cover our hard costs," said Scott Caron, the director of Parks & Rec in Longview. "Beyond that we're working with them to make sure that we can get them certified without too much of a cost to them."

If you’re worried about being in the sun too long, rest assured that lifeguards have protocols for themselves to follow like rotating post every 15 mins. 

"Wearing sunscreen is really big deal that they need to need to do," Caron said. "The second thing is hydration. They need to make sure that they're drinking lots of water throughout the day."

So if you’re looking for a summer job, Gense encourages anyone to apply. 

"Please apply," Gense said. "I would definitely say get involved in becoming a lifeguard because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"We need lifeguards at pools to make sure that there's a safe environment," Caron said. "The other way that you can help is by getting swim lessons and feeling comfortable around the water."

To apply or learn more information for a lifeguard position visit the City of Longview's website

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