2006-03-17 / Front Page

Lifeguard Recruitment Kicks Off

Want to spend your summer days on the beach and make a good buck at the same time? Does paid training and guaranteed employment sound good to you? Think about becoming a lifeguard.

The city wants to hire 1,200 fit men and women to watch over 51 outdoor pools and 14 miles of beaches, including most of Rockaway's shoreline.

"Summer is right around the corner and now is the time to get ready," Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation, said Monday as he kicked off recruiting efforts for summer 2006 in Manhattan. "You will have fun in the sun, earn money and keep people safe - nothing is more gratifying than that."

First year guards make $10.71 an hour - that's about $6,000 before taxes, but not including paid training and overtime, for the summer (based on 40-hours per week for the 14-week season.) The pay jumps to $12.24 and $13.86 for second and third-season lifeguards respectively.

Benepe made the announcement with Olympic swimming medalist Jenny Thompson, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Rose Pierre-Louis and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

"Fortunately, we are proud home to the most popular public beach on the Eastern seaboard, and the nearly 10 million annual visitors to our seashore at Coney Island and Brighton Beach rely on lifeguards to keep them safe, fun and relaxing," boasted Markowitz.

Rockaway was not represented at the kickoff/press conference.

"That was such a poor excuse for a kickoff," City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. chided this week. Addabbo, who did not receive an invitation from the Parks Department, told The Wave he is less worried about the snub and more interested to know what recruiting efforts are being made besides the one-day publicity push. He said he's distributed posters to local libraries, and he spoke about a new program that could help keep Rockaway's lifeguard chairs staffed. Sixteen public school students are participating in a lifeguard training program that is partnered with Far Rockaway and John Adams High School. For more on that see page 13.

To become a lifeguard, you must pass a qualifying exam and enroll in the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program. You must be 16 years old by the start of employment, have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other and be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds.

The initial qualifying exams are held at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays at the 59 Street Recreation Center, 533 West 59 Street in Manhattan. Exams will be held through the first week of April. Candidates who pass the exam will be paid to attend a free 40-hour training course, and are guaranteed employment upon completion.

The final hurdle is a written exam and a swimming test in which candidates must swim 440 yards in 6 minutes and 40 seconds to qualify for beaches or 7 minutes 40 seconds for pools.

City beaches open on Saturday, May 27 and city pools open Thursday, June 29.

For more information call 311 or go to www.NYC.Gov/Parks

By Brian Magoolaghan

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