Biddeford is the latest community to find itself facing a shortage of lifeguards with summer about to begin.
Biddeford is looking for at least 16 lifeguards to cover three ocean beaches and the Saco River beach at Rotary Park. Currently, the city only has 10.
The city said it won’t close beaches, but it’s already cut back the hours when beaches are open from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. and it is looking at possibly more cuts.
“After 5, you’ve still got people coming down to swim,” Biddeford Recreation Director Carl Walsh said. “Naturally, you have people who are using bodies of water when they’re not guarded anyway. But the more we’re able to put guards on the beach, the safer it’s going to be for everybody.”
Biddeford is working with the aquatics program at the University of New England to get more students certified as lifeguards.
The shortage isn’t new, but it’s gotten worse with labor shortages amid the pandemic.