City in huge need of lifeguards
SARASOTA - The city is short-staffed for lifeguards at three of its public swimming areas - Arlington Park, Lido Beach, and the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, forcing staff to shorten the hours the pool stays open.
"You can imagine maybe having a basketball team with only five people. We're qualified and I don't think safety is ever compromised but it's nice to sit on the bench sometimes," Lifeguard Kenneth Diffenderfer said.
"We have a really high need. A couple of pools we had to adjust some of our public swim hours due to safety reasons and not having enough lifeguards so it's something we are really in need of," Arlington Facility Manager Emily Oberlin said.
There is a minimum qualification to become a lifeguard the staff is considering bringing in new hires with less experience.
"Currently are requirements are one year of experience and also being lifeguard certified and having a high school diploma. We're working with our human resource department to lower some of the requirements throughout the other counties and the other areas it's typically 16 years old an no experience so we're trying to just meet the standards of some of the facilities to be a little more competitive," Oberlin said.
"What I would tell lifeguards when I hand them their certificate is this doesn't mean you're a lifeguard it means you're certified to get on the deck and nothing gets experience and the only way you can get experience is putting in time but mentoring is what's it's all about," Diffenderfer said.