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Lifeguard shortage means limited pool openings in Mobile

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Summertime means more trips to the pool, and the Mobile area is dealing with a lack of lifeguards to watch over all those swimmers.

Alabama’s port city is working to attract pool staff with wages of over $15 an hour. Mobile is also offering to cover the lifeguard training fee.

Greg Davis is the Athletics and Aquatics Supervisor for Mobile. He said that staffing shortages will mean that the four pools in Mobile won’t all have lifeguards this summer.

“If we wanted to open all four pools simultaneously, we’re looking at at least having 20 lifeguards total. We’d need about 17 more lifeguards to complete that," he said. "Right now we have barely enough staff to open one pool, and that’s one pool per day and we’ll rotate.”  

Shadrack Collins Jr. is the Superintendent of Recreation for the City of Mobile. He said that staffing has been especially slow this season.

“Another point we like to make is teaching the kids about the water safety because of our geographical location, Mobile is surrounded by water," he said. "The more comfortable kids are with water, the better, because at any point on time a kid could be exposed to water just based on our geographical location of being here in Mobile.” 

The lifeguard shortage is also considered a national issue because pools were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lifeguards skipped renewing their certifications.

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