Pine Island experiences lifeguard shortage with pool opening just ahead

Pine Island experiences lifeguard shortage with pool opening just ahead.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) – As pools begin to fill and the weather gets warmer, many are excited to hit their local pool, but Pine Island is struggling to bring in one of the more crucial pieces, lifeguards.

“Pine Island is struggling with a problem that a lot of other surrounding communities are facing, that’s come to finding employment for the summertime, for us we’re trying to find some additional lifeguards to help staff our pool,” Pine Island mayor David Friese.

What used to be an easy summer job to hire for, has turned difficult. Friese explained the city looked at surrounding pools and realized it needs to make its pay competitive, and in order to hire desired staff, it needs to provide an incentive.

Tactics Pine Island is using to attract possible hires include increased wages from $11 to $13 an hour and waiving certification fees, which could run anywhere from $200-$300. Friese said he believes this could show success.

“I think that is going to be something that will attract the attention of some of these lifeguards that have worked in the area or have worked here in the past” Friese added.

This isn’t the first Pine Island has run into this issue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the pool struggled to operate.

“I really think the pandemic ruined more than just the changes in society, it changed the behavior where people,” Friese stated.

Friese explained this a problem many smaller communities are dealing with, but officials at Rochester’s public pools say they are fully staffed and ready for summertime.

Pine Island’s Aquatic Center is set to open on June 6. While it does have enough to operate, there are many positions still open. For more information, click here.