DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The outdoor pools in Durham opened on Wednesday for the summer, but at least half of the city’s lifeguard positions are vacant.
Officials with Durham Parks and Recreation said they currently have 30 lifeguards, but they need to hire 30 more.
DPR officials said this shortage is impacting hours at indoor pools now that the outdoor pools have opened, but as of right now they are not having to close any pools due to the lifeguard shortage.
Officials said currently swimming lessons will not be offered at any DPR facility this summer due to a shortage of staff.
“It’s an industry wide epidemic, we’re in constant need of lifeguards,” said Jason Jones, assistant director for Durham Parks and Recreation.
Jones said Durham has dealt with a shortage of lifeguards since before the pandemic.
“It’s an issue not only here in Durham, but across the Triangle and across the nation,” Jones said.
Jones said DPR is working to recruit more lifeguards through job fairs, advertising, and they’re offering free training to become a lifeguard.
The job pays $17.99 an hour and he said anyone is encouraged to apply.
Ashley Harris became a lifeguard for Durham Parks and Recreation when she was in high school 15 years ago.
“It started out as a part-time job that became a passion,” Harris said.
Today, Harris is a recreation operation supervisor for the city’s aquatics unit.
She is hoping others may want to join Durham Parks and Recreation as the city is facing a shortage of lifeguards.
“It’s a job where you can help people to learn lifelong skills such as learning how to swim, and you can also learn how to save someone’s life,” Harris said. “I think it’s a perfect job for a teenager who loves to swim and who loves the water.”
The summer hours for Durham’s indoor pools are:
- 6am-12pm Lap Swim
- 12-5pm Reservations
- 5pm-8pm Lap Swim
- Edison Johnson Only: Saturday 9am-1pm Lap Swim (Campus Hills closed Saturdays)
To apply for a lifeguard position, click here.