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Lifeguard shortage jeopardizes hours at Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool is on a condensed schedule while the city tries to fill out its lifeguard roster.


The popular pool is currently closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays while it navigates a lifeguard shortage. The city is offering bonuses to new applicants who can start by early June.

Austin Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jodi Jay said there are 207 lifeguards ready to work and 100 incoming but the department needs 750 to be fully staffed.

Zoom out: The pandemic has had a lasting impact on hiring—in 2019, the city was able to hire 850 lifeguards. The Aquatic Department has been unable to match those numbers since it reopened training classes in spring of 2021.

Why it matters: The city needs at least 400 lifeguards, plus 30 with open water certification, to open pools on a modified schedule by June 4. Without hitting that mark, some facilities could limit hours or close.

The job pays between $16-19 an hour, anyone over 15 can get certified and there are bonuses on the table:

  • $500 bonus if you get certified and start working by June 6.
  • $500 bonus if you work through August 14.
  • $250 bonus if you get advanced certification.
Austin Parks and Rec’s Aquatic Division serves 45 public aquatic facilities—including Barton Springs pool and a number of regional pools. Find the full list here.

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