2007-04-20 / Community

Just A Few Days Left For Lifeguard Tryouts

By Brian Magoolaghan

More lifeguards are needed for Rockaway's beaches to keep them from being "Red Flagged" as this closed becach was in 2006.
More lifeguards are needed for Rockaway's beaches to keep them from being "Red Flagged" as this closed becach was in 2006.

There's only a few days left to try out for one of the best summer jobs around - working as a New York City lifeguard.

The Department of Parks and Recreation announced this week that the deadline has been extended until Friday, April 27.

"Working as a summer lifeguard is an exciting summer job with a great salary that offers the opportunity to keep people safe," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe a prepared statement.

The city has set a target of 1,200 lifeguards in order to fully staff 14 miles of beaches and more than 50 pools. Parks told The Wave that, as of last month, 861 people had applied for the job, which is about 200 more than had applied by that time last year.

This season's applicants could be the first to be tested under a system that was modified after Community Board 14 issued a report that was highly critical of the city's long-standing testing process. At CB14's meeting this month, Chairperson Delores Orr said Parks has agreed to post timing clocks that applicants could see from the pool, to give each applicant a report card detailing their performance and has shown a "high level of cooperation" by negotiation with the lifeguard union for the presence of independent monitors during testing.

A spokesSeeperson for Parks could not confirm by press time if those changes had been agreed upon.

First-year lifeguards make a minimum of $11.72 per hour and work a 48-hour work week, according to Parks. Applicants must be at least 16 years old by the time they start working as lifeguards and must have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without glasses or contacts. They also have to be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form to qualify for training.

Candidates who meet those requirements are enrolled in Parks' 40-hour training course, where they learn CPR, various swimming styles and other lifesaving techniques. They're paid for the time spent training once they become lifeguards.

Beach lifeguards have to be able to swim 440 yards in six minutes and 40 seconds; pool lifeguards have to swim that distance in seven minutes, 40 seconds.n Tryouts are held at the Parks Lifeguard School, 533 West 59 Street in Manhattan, Monday though Friday at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. For more information, dial 311 or go to www. nyc.gov/parks.

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