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Taking the plunge

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation hiring for lifeguarding positions, announce wage increase.

Dive right in: Councilmembers Isaiah Thomas and Bobby Henon take the plunge into the Samuel Recreation Center pool to complete a portion of the lifeguard screening test. PHOTO: JOE O’CONNOR/PHILADELPHIA PARKS & RECREATION

The weather is heating up, and one of the hottest summer jobs in Philly still has openings: lifeguarding.

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation hosted a news conference on Thursday, May 13, at Samuel Recreation Center, 3539 Gaul St., to announce a pay raise for city lifeguards to ensure public pools will be adequately staffed for opening.

Councilmembers Bobby Henon and Isaiah Thomas demonstrated a portion of the lifeguard screening test all applicants are required to pass to enroll in a certification course.

The duo both successfully retrieved a 10-pound brick from the deep end of the pool, as Councilman Mark Squilla, Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa and other city aquatics staff cheered them on from the pool deck.

First-year city lifeguards will see a 51-cent pay increase to $15.25 an hour, while returning guards will be eligible to earn up to $17.47 an hour.

Anyone who can swim is eligible to apply and will be trained by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation aquatics staff.

Individuals ages 16 to 24 who commit to working at a city pool will have the lifeguard certification fee waived, which is $110.

Parks and Rec is looking to hire between 350 to 400 lifeguards to staff 68 outdoor pools.

“Being a lifeguard is not just a great summer job. It’s also an incredible way for Philadelphians to give back to their community and to regain a sense of normalcy after this past year,” Ott Lovell said. “From retirees and school teachers to teens and young adults, anyone can be a lifeguard and help make this a summer to remember for Philly kids.”

Henon echoed her sentiments.

“Our public pools are the most cherished part of summer for Philadelphians,” Henon said. “I applaud anyone who takes the plunge this year and chooses to spend their summer lifeguarding at City pools.”

There are several recreation centers in the River Wards with positions available including Cione, 2600 Aramingo Ave.; Cohox, 2901 Cedar St.; Heitzman, 3631 Amber St.; and Samuel.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city pools remained closed last summer.

But, staff and elected officials are excited to continue a tradition of fun and safety this year.

“Learning to swim is a life lesson, and a lifesaving lesson,” Squilla said. “Our City lifeguards are heroes. They save lives on the pool deck and in the shallow end teaching the next generation how to swim.” ••

Individuals interested in brushing up their swimming skills or completing the lifeguard screening must register in advance. Due to COVID-19 protocols, space is limited. 

For more details, visit phila.gov/lifeguards.

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