2007-02-23 / Community

'Whistle Worthy' Lifeguard Drive Kicks Off

By Brian Magoolaghan "Are you whistle worthy?"

By Brian Magoolaghan
"Are you whistle worthy?"

Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe (second from right) and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (left) and others kicked off lifeguard recruitment for the 2007 season in Union Square this week. Photo by New York City Parks & Recreation/Daniel AvilaDepartment of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe (second from right) and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (left) and others kicked off lifeguard recruitment for the 2007 season in Union Square this week. Photo by New York City Parks & Recreation/Daniel Avila

That's the question Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe asked city residents this week - particularly those who might be interested in a great summer job.

"The best way to beat a hot summer in New York City is with a cool lifeguard job," Benepe said at a recruitment launch held this week in Union Square. "Water safety depends on great lifeguards, and while it's cold out now, summer will be here before we know it."

The job pays at least $11.72 an hour and lifeguards work a 48 hour week. Parks is offering qualifying tests weekdays through mid-April at the West 59 Street pool in Manhattan. Qualifying tests are given twice a day, Monday through Friday, at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Candidates must be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds, have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and at least 20/40 in the other - without corrective lenses and must be at least 16 years of age by the time they start employment. Those who make the cut are paid for the time they spent training.

As part of the "Whistle Worthy" recruitment campaign, some of the 14-foot tall lifeguard chairs, like the ones that line Rockaway's shoreline during the summer, will be put on display in several parks throughout the city.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz traveled to Union Square to cheerlead for his borough. "In Brooklyn, where not everyone goes to the Hamptons and residents like me are proud to summer in Brooklyn, keeping our beaches open as a way to cool off is essential," Markowitz said. "And with the 10 million annual visitors to Coney Island and Brighton Beach helping make Brooklyn one of the world's hottest tourist destinations, we rely on lifeguards even more to keep our beaches safe, relaxing and fun," he added.

Rockaway was not represented at the event, sources said.

For more information on becoming a New York City lifeguard call 311 or visit Parks' website at www.nyc.gov/ parks .

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