2009-02-13 / Community

Parks Kicks Off Lifeguard Recruitment

By Nicholas Briano

The Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for lifeguards again in hopes of reaching their target goal of 1,200 in time for Memorial Day, the official start to summer.

Rockaway residents interested in the job will have to attend a qualifying test, which is held twice a day, Monday through Friday, at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Parks Municipal Lifeguard Training School at 533 West 59 Street in Manhattan. No appointment is necessary and testing will run through late March.

During that qualifying test a candidate must be capable of swimming 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form; have a minimum of 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without corrective lenses; and must be at least 16 years old by the time he or she starts working as a lifeguard in order to be entered in the training program.

The only new aspect to the program this year is that first-year lifeguards, upon completion of the training program, can expect to earn $13.57 per hour, an increase from last year's $12.55 per hour. Those who pass the qualifying test will begin the training course soon thereafter, to be ready for Memorial Day, the day beaches open. On June 27 New York City's 54 outdoor pools open.

The training program consists of 40 hours of instruction in swimming and rescue techniques, first aid, and most importantly, CPR. The training class, according to the Department of Parks, is typically held once a week for 16 weeks with each session lasting 2.5 hours. Before candidates are officially enrolled in the program they are required to pass another swim test and a written exam that covers everything they have learned in the training sessions.

Residents and beachgoers of Rockaway have been pleading for longer hours and more lifeguards. Perhaps if the target goal of 1,200 is finally reached, more lifeguards would be assigned to every beach along the Rockaway peninsula to keep them consistently staffed and open.

For more information about tryouts visit NYC.Gov/Parks.

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