At the Island Oasis Water Park or the Lincoln Pool, city of Grand Island officials say swimmers can count on lifeguards to help keep them safe. But at the start of this summer, the amount of lifeguards handy was pretty shallow.
Todd McCoy, Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, says, "At the beginning of the summer, we had a shortage of lifeguards. Our returning staff from last year was a little smaller than anticipated, so that made us nervous"
As nervous as the city was, that is how exhausted the short lifeguard staff was.
Island Oasis Water Park Lifeguard, Morgan Smith says, "A lot of lifeguards are getting burnt out already and a lot of people want subs. It would be nice if we had a lot more lifeguards. There's a lot more people to take shifts, and you don't get overworked or dehydration or anything. You have nice breaks because when you're out in the sun all day, you need the breaks."
So, the city decided to up the ante to potential lifeguards.
McCoy says, "One of the things we did was we offered an incentive."
"They said if we worked over 200 hours," says Smith, "then our class would be reimbursed at the end and our uniform is reimbursed, too."
The city has since hired about 40 new lifeguards, and the city, swimmers, and lifeguards are now back in order.
Smith says, "Now, there's a lot more people who can work and in the beginning, everyone had to work doubles. But, now, everyone gets to work singles or whatever they want."
But the city sees a similar drop in staff coming later this summer.
"Typically, we lose a lot of our lifeguards to college, they leave for college in early August," says McCoy. "If a lot of those lifeguards take off on us, then we may end up hiring a few more at the end of the summer."