Lifeguard shortage: Philadelphia in need of 150 lifeguards before city pools open

"No Lifeguard on Duty" is not a risk most community pools are willing to take.

With summer right around the corner, Philadelphia is looking to hire at least 150 lifeguards to keep city pools safe.

Philadelphia is hoping to open 60-70 pools this summer. However, they only have enough lifeguards to open 17 pools right now.

The city has set a goal to hire 400 lifeguards this year, with 150 being the minimum number.

"It's the best summer job in Philly," a Philadelphia Parks and Rec spokesman said.

Philadelphia hoping to hire 150 lifeguards this summer.

Lifeguards, ages 16 and older, will make at least $16 an-hour, 35 hours a week from June through August.

Parks and Rec Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, her staff and City Council member Kenyatta Johnson went door-to-door in Southwest Philly to recruit lifeguards last month.

"These pools are critical resources for communities," Ott Lovell said.

Lifeguards are required to take a test before taking their seat on the tower.

To pass the screening, lifeguards must:

  • Swim 300 yards non-stop.
  • Tread water for two minutes without using your arms.
  • Retrieve a 10-pound brick from a 12 foot-deep well, return to the surface and swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the brick.

The brick test helps prepare lifeguards to save the life of a drowning kid.

While lifeguards are vital in those situations, teaching kids about water safety could lower the chance of drownings.

In West Philadelphia, several Olympians took on the role of teacher to help kids learn how to swim.

"We want to get them in the water as soon as possible," one Olympian said. "For us to be able to give back to the sport means everything."

To apply to be a lifeguard in Philadelphia, visit the City of Philadelphia website.