Hunt pool will open Thursday, and Dupont will open sometime next week.
MANCHESTER – Good news is that city pools are, for the most part open. Bad news: There aren’t enough lifeguards to go around.
Costly training and the cycle of lifeguarding has limited the number of candidates signing up to serve as lifeguards this year – in Manchester and around the state – forcing at least one city swim spot, Crystal Lake, to open without a lifeguard.
“We have two pools operating – Livingston and Raco-Theodore. Hunt will open tomorrow,” said Vachon on Wednesday afternoon.
Dupont pool will open as soon as this weekend’s three-day lifeguard certification course is completed, Vachon said. Likely by July 2.
Vachon said lifeguard shortages happen every now and then, usually when a lifeguard who starts as a high school senior moves on to a paid internship during college break.
He cites the high-cost of recertification as one contributing factor.
“This is the first year I’ve seen a shortage like this. And it’s not just here – Concord felt the pain and other cities and towns around the state. But particularly anyone who hires a larger number of lifeguards, as we do, has had a hard time getting them this season,” Vachon said.
Upfront certification for lifeguards is $325, and that certification must be renewed every two years at an additional cost of $210.
Vachon followed the lead of David Gill, recreation director for the City of Concord, who last week offered to reimburse half the cost of training for any lifeguard who completes the course and works the summer at a Concord pool.
“We’ve never done anything like that before, but that’s what they did in Concord and the response was amazing there, so we’re trying it here in Manchester. Since advertising that, my phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Vachon said.
He said the cost of reimbursing lifeguards will come out of the Parks and Recreation budget, either by closing a pool a day early, or by some other funding stream.
The three-day Lifeguard Certification course will be held June 26, 27 and 29 at a reduced cost of $275. Half that cost will be reimbursed for any applicant who passes the course and fulfills the full-time summer working session. Morning swim sessions will be held at Hunt Pool (297 Maple St.) from 9 a.m. to noon daily, while the afternoon classroom sessions will be at the Department of Public Works (475 Valley St.) from 1-6 p.m. daily.
There are currently 15 openings for certified lifeguards to work at the city’s five swimming facilities. The job pays $13.70 per hour. Eligible candidates must be 17 years of age or older, be a certified lifeguard and must pass the swimming and written skills evaluation.