State parks in Maine are again dealing with a shortage of lifeguards.
John Bott, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said that parks started recruiting last fall, but there are still open lifeguard positions, especially in southern Maine.
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Lifeguards employed by the state this summer will make $11.09 per hour. But Bott says state parks, which set wages according to state employment regulations, cannot compete with the private sector by increasing pay to attract lifeguards.
“That’s something that is governed by state employment rules, and that’s definitely a weakness,” Bott said. “We did an assessment a few years back and found that our pay was comparable, at that point, but in the last year or two the economy has really taken off. I suspect that the pay is not as close as it was before we started having this unbelievably strong economy.”
Bott says state parks are posting lifeguards only at peak times of the day, and notifying beachgoers when no lifeguard is on duty.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.
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