JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville is in need of more lifeguards so it can open all of the city pools.
Right now, Jacksonville is only opening 26 of 34 pools because there are not enough people to serve as lifeguards.
News4Jax found that a number of pools listed on the city’s website are not on a list of pools set to open. The pools that appear to not have lifeguard staff to open up include:
- Carvill Pool in Northwest Jacksonville
- Ed White High School Pool
- Englewood High School Pool
- Eugene Butler Middle School Pool
- Highlands Middle School Pool
- Mallison Pool on Lenox Avenue
- Wolfson High School Pool
One of the city pools set to open Saturday is the pool at Adolph Wurn Park in Sans Souci neighborhood. Kahleel Smith, who lives nearby, said the pool has been critical to his neighborhood his whole life.
“A lot of them, they like to come and really have fun,” Smith said.
Smith said the hiring issue should be addressed.
“It’s a big deal because you know a lot of people don’t know how to swim, but they should hire some so people can come out and have fun,” Smith said. “A lot of teens, most likely, that I hang with, they are athletic and know how to swim, so I think they would come out and love the money.”
But many on the News4Jax Facebook page were quick to point out a reality the city is facing with the starting wage being $10 an hour.
“Making more at a fast restaurant with incentive pay… I think the city is being a little frugal about saving live,” one commenter said.
“10 bucks an hr( more like 8 after taxes) to sit in the scorching heat and your job is to literally save lives if needed,” another commenter said.
The city has been on a major campaign to recruit lifeguards for months.
“You have to be a least 15. We accept all the way up to teachers, and they’ll have to go through our training class, which is five days long. And we also offer hybrid classes that are only two days long,” Kenzie Radloff, with the city’s Aquatics Office, said in April on “The Morning Show.”
City pools will open for the season on Saturday and will remain open through Labor Day. They will be open at full capacity, and masks are encouraged but not required.