In an effort to deal with the lifeguard staffing shortage New York is currently facing, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday pay increases for state lifeguards.
The governor directed starting pay rates for lifeguards at upstate facilities to increase 34 percent -- from $14.95 to $20 an hour -- and 21 percent for lifeguards at downstate facilities -- from $18.15 to $22 an hour.
The measure has the end goal of enticing more individuals to apply for lifeguard positions as the state grapples with a lifeguard shortage at New York State Park beaches and pools at 70 parks across the state, as well as 17 beaches operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds and day use area beaches.
"All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to safely enjoy our public beaches and pools this summer," Hochul said in a statement. "With a lifeguard shortage threatening access to swimming facilities, we are aggressively recruiting more lifeguards to ensure safe access to outdoor recreation during the summer months."
The new pay rates will be implemented immediately for lifeguards at Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation swimming facilities. This will also include lifeguards employed by SUNY and CUNY.
The pay rates will also increase for lifeguards with more than two seasons of experience, ranging from five to 30 percent -- depending on their location and experience.
"New York State Park lifeguards are vital to protecting the millions of swimmers at State Park beaches and pools each year...As a former Harriman State Park lifeguard, I know first hand that lifeguarding is a great way to earn money, gain valuable job experience, and serve the public," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.
The national lifeguard shortage has already impacted a number of NYC Parks swim safety programs.
NYC Parks tweeted last week that a number of their swim programs at their outdoor pools are canceled this summer due to not having enough lifeguards.
"Due to the national lifeguard shortage, unfortunately we will not be hosting swim programs, including lap swim, senior swim, and Learn to Swim, at our outdoor pools this summer," the tweet read in part.