DCR Beaches & Pools Open Amid Lifeguard Shortage

Lifeguard Tower at Swimming Pool

Photo: Getty Images

MILTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Just in time for Memorial day, several beaches and pools will open for the season.

Department of Conservation and Recreation officials along with state and safety leaders gathered at Houghton's Pond in Milton to announce that approximately 80 designated swim locations around the state will open this weekend. Just 16 of those locations, managed by the DCR, will have lifeguards.

Public safety officials delivered safety notices, warning swimmers to be careful when enjoying bodies of water.

“Memorial Day Weekend often provides an opportunity for many to get outside, have fun with friends and family, and enjoy the holiday weekend; however, it is incredibly important that everyone is careful and takes appropriate measures to keep everyone safe while enjoying pools and beaches,” said Governor Charlie Baker. 

“We have taken significant steps over the last couple of years to increase water safety throughout the state parks system and educating everyone on knowing their swimming abilities, understanding water temperatures, and being alert when in the water," Baker said.

In recent years, the state has taken significant steps to make swimming across the Commonwealth safer, by posting warning signs in multiple languages, and making safety devices like life rings available in the event of an emergency. This year the DCR will provide free swimming lessons to adults and children at select pools starting in July.

The DCR also took the opportunity at Thursday's event to recruit lifeguards.

"For a young person this could be an incredible opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills." Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said.

It isn't just about the skill learning opportunity. The agency continues to offer incentives such as a $500 retention bonus, provided to lifeguards who continue to work for the department through the end of the summer. The DCR also said they've increased the hourly rate to between $21-$26, depending on the position.

Those interested in applying, can visit the DCR's lifeguard webpage.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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