City of Philadelphia announces pay increase to address lifeguard shortages

Last summer, Philadelphia was only able to open 42 or about 60% of pools due to staffing shortages.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Philly officials announce pay increase to address lifeguard shortages
The first outdoor pool of the season is officially open in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The first outdoor pool of the season is officially open in Philadelphia.

The heated outdoor pool at the Samuel Recreation Center is now actively training lifeguards.

The city is on a major campaign to fill hundreds of open spots, and on Wednesday, they sweetened the deal with a pay increase.

"The good news is that our starting salary has been raised. It was $15.25 to $17.24 an hour, and it is now $16 to $18. So we are going to change that," said Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Philly Parks & Recreation aims to hire about 800 lifeguards so they can open all 68 outdoor pools this summer.

RELATED: City of Philadelphia on aggressive hiring spree to staff pools amid national lifeguard shortage

Officials say this will keep kids off the streets and teach life-saving skills.

"African Americans are three times more likely to die by drowning than white Americans. So for me, opening our pool safety is the summary as a matter of equity. It is a matter of access, and it could be a matter of life and death," said Thelma Nesbitt, water safety instructor.

The lifeguard certification is free for applicants ages 16-24 who commit to working at a city pool.

Last summer, Philadelphia was only able to open 42 or about 60% of pools due to staffing shortages.