NEW YORK (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul has directed a pay increase for state lifeguards in an attempt to address a staffing shortage at New York State Park beaches and pools and Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds and day-use areas beaches.
"All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to safely enjoy our public beaches and pools this summer. 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."
According to a release, starting pay rates for lifeguards at upstate facilities will increase 34% from $14.95 per hour to $20 per hour. Starting pay rates for lifeguards at downstate facilities will increase 21% from $18.15 per hour to $22 per hour. Lifeguards with more than two seasons of experience will also see a pay rate increase ranging from five to 30%, depending on location and experience.
"The new pay rates will go into effect immediately for lifeguards at swimming facilities operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation. State Parks provides lifeguards at swimming pools and beaches at 70 parks across the state. DEC operates 17 beaches with more than 40 lifeguards. This will also include lifeguards employed by SUNY and CUNY. State agencies will continue to advance discussions with United University Professions toward a beneficial outcome for all parties," a release says.
The state lowered the lifeguard age restriction to 15 across most of the state last year and said it is now adjusting from park to park to address shortages until full staffing capacity is achieved.