NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Memorial Day weekend is typically when Norfolk puts lifeguards on its three public beaches: Ocean View Beach, Sarah Constant Beach and Community Beach, but with more than 40 lifeguard vacancies, they just can’t.
Recreation and Community Wellness Manager Kari Diop said, “We’re currently going to staff one beach this summer, Community Beach.”
Guarded hours will also be reduced. Lifeguards will be on duty at Community Beach from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., as posted on signs along the sand.
Diop said staffing is currently one-quarter of what it should be.
The outdoor pool at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center won’t open at all this summer and lifeguards will rotate among the city’s three indoor pools.
Indoor Pool Hours:
- Huntersville ~ Wednesday & Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Southside Aquatics Center ~ Tuesday & Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Northside Pool ~ Monday & Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
So where are all the lifeguards? Diop isn’t sure, “I wish I had an answer to that. I think our pay is very competitive for the region and we have a lot of great incentives to work with the city.”
Pay is $16 an hour to lifeguard at city pools and $18 an hour at the beaches.
Diop said it’s a great summer job for teenagers. It’s also a great way for other teens and kids to keep occupied and out of trouble in the summer, but without lifeguards the unguarded beaches will be swim at your own risk this summer.
The city has done recruiting with high school swim teams and at job fairs.
Diop hopes a wave of applicants can still turn the tide on this summer bummer. “We’re hoping to continually add to our staffing and continually evaluate what we have operating.”