We have been saying it for quite some time now and have brought attention to a national crisis that has been brewing for the last five years or so. We are referring to the most severe lifeguard shortage in history which has impacted private and municipal agencies from coast to coast. With no relief in sight, many have had to scale back operations such as closing aquatic facilities leaving many communities without a place to swim in the summer months.
In a period of three years (2014 – 2017) we have observed a steady decline of experienced lifeguards applying for positions here at Golden State Lifeguards. The year 2017 is expected to be the worst we have seen yet and unless we do something immediately and drastically, our operations will be forced to scale back as well. That means many will not have the protection of lifeguards to ensure that swimmers do not drown at pool parties and other types of aquatics events.
The job of lifeguard is not as appealing as it once was and definitely not as glamorous as being a firefighter however both roles play a major part in ensuring safety and saving lives. The lifeguard shortage can be attributed to many factors and the biggest factor is that many have been programmed to seek entitlements rather than to seek a respectable job and to work hard. Another factor is that many have enjoyed the rise and acceptance of recreational marijuana which they know could disqualify them from employment. Those are just two factors and the subject as to the cause of the lifeguard shortage is just too lengthy. Many agree with our assessments so far and continue to thank us for keeping this subject at the forefront.
Our answer to the lifeguard shortage may be remedied but only if we deviate from the normal recruitment policies we have had for the last 11 years in business. Normally we seek experienced lifeguards however seeing that they are not answering the call, we have considered an internal lifeguard academy that will put candidates who qualify to the test. These new candidates will have to earn their spot on the team but at the same time will be taught advanced lifeguard techniques that is not being taught in classes today. The only pre-requisite will be they must demonstrate advanced swimming abilities in a lifeguard competition. So basically anyone will be eligible to be a lifeguard and be certified as a Golden State Lifeguards team member, contingent on passing the academy.
We believe that will ease our lifeguard shortage and our training will prepare these candidates for a job they can enjoy for a very long time to come. Our goal is to bring the job of lifeguard back into the spotlight and a job worth pursuing. This is something we have not seen for a very long time and the challenge is to undo eight years of an entitlement culture that flips the bird to working hard.