North Attleborough seeks to fill lifeguard positions
WESTPORT, Mass. (WJAR) —
When you head to a state beach in Massachusetts, expect to see dozens of eyes on the water, ready to protect swimmers.
Massachusetts Department of Conservation spokesman Troy Wall told NBC 10 News the state had a “very strong” recruitment season.
“The agency was not only able to retain a substantial amount of lifeguards from previous seasons, but was also able to add plenty of new recruits of all ages to the department’s ranks,” Wall wrote in an e-mail.
Horseneck Beach head lifeguard Joey Welch has worked at the beach for 13 years.
“It’s not like you’re sitting there, looking at girls and getting tan,” Welch said. “You actually save people here.”
Prior to the 2018 season, the Baker-Polito Administration increased lifeguard wages to $15 an hour, which was a nearly $2 increase from last year, he said.
Meanwhile, some town-run ponds and lakes are struggling to recruit lifeguards.
In North Attleborough, town officials have been unable to fill the vacant position at Whiting’s Pond. A teen drowned there Sunday afternoon.
According to the town, lifeguards are paid $11.65 per hour.
Welch said anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard should consider starting at a local pool.
“If you can do that, it’s the basics then you can go out and check out a lake or a pond then come here to the ocean,” he said. “It’s a little more dangerous but more fun I think.”
North Attleborough town officials hired a new lifeguard less than a day after the drowning, but said it was not in response to the drowning, but from advertisements previous posted. It hopes to hire another lifeguard to work at Whiting’s Pond.
DCR told NBC 10 News the recruitment campaign targets high school and college-aged young adults.