2001-03-31 / Letters

‘Wake Up’ Parks Dept.

‘Wake Up’ Parks Dept.

Dear Editor;

The following letter tells of my experience of applying to be a lifeguard.
After reading you article on "Preparing for Summer in Rockaway," I thought your readers should be aware of my experience.

I am a 25 year old "physically fit" male who has expressed an interest
in being a lifeguard at Rockaway Beach this summer. I have spent many summers at Rockaway Beach as a child, teenager, and now as an
adult. After hearing and seeing first-hand the lifeguard shortages in the
Rockaways in recent years, I decided to contact the Parks Department to
be a lifeguard for this summer 2001. Since I work full-time during the
week, working as a lifeguard part-time on the weekends would be perfect for me. I would be doing a service to the community while saving some
money for a winter vacation. The response I received from the Parks
Department was astonishing. As I was told, applicants are only being
accepted for those willing to work 40 hours per week. All other applications are not being accepted. It did not appear to me that there was even a waiting list for part-time applicants. In beaches in New Jersey, part-time lifeguards are quite common. I do not understand why the Parks Department refuses help when there has been a shortage of help for the past several years. It annoys me to see red flags and red tape indicating closed beaches on a hot summer day. Furthermore, these beaches need as much lifeguard help as they can get since there seems to be several drownings and accidents that occur off these waters every summer!    

It now annoys me further that these past situations and possible future ones could have prevented. If people cannot use beaches in Rockaway, they will certain go to the beaches in Long Island, where the beaches seem to get more crowded every year. If you lose beach crowds that could pose a problem to community businesses that depend on these crowds in the summer.

I hope that eventually the Parks Department will open their eyes and will stop refusing help and complain of a shortage by July 4th!

JAMES EMSWORTH


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