CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A job on the beach sounds fun, but if you’re a lifeguard, it’s more than just a good time — it’s important work.
The News Channel 8 Today team is showcasing industries experiencing worker shortages. Beth Rousseau went to see if she could hang with the Clearwater Beach lifeguards on Tuesday.
“It take a lot of different talents, and skills and characteristics to make a lifeguard,” Lifeguard Manager Patrick Brafford told Beth.
According to Brafford, the lifeguards have responded to more than 60 water incidents and 1,000 medical calls.
An understanding of rescue maneuvers in the water and medical aid on shore are essential to lifeguards. They review techniques daily so they’re prepared to save lives.
“Every year, you know, it used to be the season and you’d have a slow time—not anymore. This is a year-round operation,” Brafford said.
He said bigger crowds are creating more challenges, and he’s been dealing with staffing shortages.
“Yes, it makes it more difficult, but that’s what we’re here for. We love the challenge, we love to be busy, we love to work,” Brafford said.
The staffing shortages are impacting pools and aquatic centers around the country, according to the American Lifeguard Association.
An ALA spokesperson said staffing numbers for the country’s 309,000 public pools are down 30%.
Brafford says Clearwater Beach is always hiring individuals who are ready to train and work as a lifeguard.
To learn more about becoming a lifeguard at Clearwater Beach, visit myclearwaterparks.com.