TI region still needs lifeguards at state parks, even with pay hike
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Swimming at state parks is set to open Saturday even though the Thousand Islands region still needs lifeguards.
According to the governor’s office, the region needs another 15 lifeguards to reach the optimal number of 66 guards.
As a way to entice people to apply, Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week that state lifeguards will get a pay raise. Starting pay is now $20 an hour.
The state is also providing “on-demand” courses for lifeguards to deal with ongoing shortages.
Paying $20 an hour means other areas that need lifeguards may have to pay more.
In Watertown, city officials have also been dealing with lifeguard shortages and already bumped up pay to $17 an hour - a move made before the state increased lifeguard pay this week.
“We tried to get ahead of it. There were lifeguard shortages and challenges in previous years so we tried to get ahead of it this year,” said Scott Weller, superintendent of Watertown Parks & Recreation.
He says Watertown is set with its staffing for city pools this season.
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