Minnesota pools see lifeguard shortage ahead of summer

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With summer just around the corner and more Minnesotans now vaccinated, public pools are ready to open up for the season. The only problem is they’re down lifeguard staff.

At Life Time Fitness in Edina, they’re seeing a problem with lifeguard shortages, and staff say it’s a nationwide problem.

"You do have to have that certification. One of the other issues we’re having is the lifeguard courses themselves to get certified are filling very quickly, so having the space to run those and fill those has been a little bit of a problem," said Karla Risan, aquatics manager at Life Time Edina.

Before the pandemic hit, pools across the country were having trouble finding lifeguards, but since then the problem has only gotten worse. The American Lifeguard Association says programs to train lifeguards are backlogged, travel restrictions because of COVID-19 limited seasonal and college students and overall interest in lifeguarding is down.

Life Time is hoping it can add to their application pool before the summer officially begins.

"Parents do a great job trying to keep an eye on their kids, but a lot of parents have more than one child with you,” Risan said. "Things happen, kids get tired and having that extra eye on the water really helps keep everybody safe.”

For more information on how to get certified as a lifeguard, visit the American Lifeguard Association’s website.