Bismarck Pool Experiences Lifeguard Shortage - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bismarck Pool Experiences Lifeguard Shortage

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As summer heats up, lines start forming at public pools. But once these swimmers get inside, lifeguards aren't lining up to sit in these chairs.

"We're squeaking by this year as far as lifeguards go," says facilities specialist Dylan Thiem. "We had enough to make things happen obviously, that's why we're open."

Thiem says McDonalds starts employees at $10 an hour. That's 50 cents more than a lifeguard's starting wage. In addition, lifeguards need to pay for their own training in CPR, AED, First Aid and lifeguard certification.

Shawn Newberger, head lifeguard, says, "I do have friends that have left lifeguarding, and who've gone to the oil rigs and such, but for me, I want to go in the medical field. So, lifeguarding, I feel, would actually look great on a resume."

It takes about 75 to 80 lifeguards to staff the three pools in Bismarck.

Thiem says, "We're making due with what we've got right now. We're able to be open on days like today where it'll be nice to go swimming."

With swimming lessons starting early in the day, some lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Newberger says, "I do wish there were more lifeguards each day, more lifeguards and staff, so I wouldn't have to be here every single day."

Newberger says even though the days can get long and hot, and he could make more money working elsewhere, some of the benefits of lifeguarding don't show up on a pay stub.

"Lifeguarding is a big benefit. Like, you can save people's lives and that's always beneficial to yourself, just knowing, you know, a kid goes under, and you're the one that gets to protect them and looking out for their own safety and stuff like that. Other jobs, you may not have that opportunity."

As the summer continues, the need for lifeguards grows because some guards quit or change to other jobs. When that happens, subs fill in to make sure that every guard station is manned.

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