NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York City pools are officially open for the summer while the city continues to grapple with the lifeguard shortage.
The city’s 53 outdoor pools open Thursday and will close on Sept. 10, according to the NYC Parks Department. Pool hours are from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. with a daily break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning.
The department said that the hours may change depending on whether there are enough lifeguards to cover the shifts. The agency began recruiting new lifeguards last September to address the lifeguard shortage, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.
There are about 650 lifeguards currently certified, and the department is working to recertify returning lifeguards through July, according to a department source.
“Since we began recruiting for lifeguards last September, we have been loud and clear that we are faced with an enormous staffing challenge. As always, we will adjust our staffing as needed to open up as much swimming space as possible, but New Yorkers should expect to see capacity limits at pools, particularly in the beginning of the season as we continue to recertify lifeguards,” the spokesperson said.
When the beaches reopened last month, New York had about 200 new recruits in its lifeguard ranks and 280 returning lifeguards getting certified, the agency previously said. The number is well below the 1,400 lifeguards needed to cover the shifts.
All lifeguards must pass a written test, CPR course, and final swimming test to get certified. Pool lifeguards need to swim 440 yards in 7 minutes, 40 seconds, or 6 minutes and 40 seconds to cover a beach assignment. Beach lifeguards also need to complete a 300-yard ocean swim.
This year, the agency source said the department offered lifeguard certification for staff who only cover mini-pools, which only require guards to complete a 400-yard swim.
“Our outdoor pools are amazing amenities for New Yorkers, offering free places to cool off on hot days, have fun, and get some exercise,” Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.
Check here for a complete list of outdoor pools.