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Lifeguard Shortage Leaves NH Pools Struggling To Open

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV New Hampshire Bureau Chief
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CONCORD, NH (CBS) – At the Dupont Pool in Manchester, the only thing missing: the swimmers and the lifeguards.

The pool is locked up.

“Coming into this season we were short 15 lifeguards,” said Andy Vachon with Manchester Parks and Recreation.

Only two of the city’s four pools are open.

Parks and Recreation officials in Concord, New Hampshire had a similar problem.

“We were kind of in a tough spot this year when we realized we were a couple weeks out from opening the pools and we were still a dozen lifeguards short,” said Laura Bryant with Concord Parks and Recreation.

Three pools in Concord did not open up on time.

One reason is that part of last season’s staff graduated from college and moved on.
Only about 20 returned this year. Typically about 30 of the 40 lifeguards come back.

But, there are other issues as well.

“Our pay rate wasn’t as competitive as it could be and there’s also the cost of becoming a lifeguard,” said Bryant.

It can cost around $300 to become certified.

Lifeguards in Concord earn a starting salary of $9.05 per hour and in Manchester it’s $13.70

All of Concord’s pools are expected to be open by this Saturday, and for Manchester it’s hoped that a new batch of lifeguards will be certified soon and all pools will be open next week.

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