Lifeguard Shortage To Impact Ocean Pines Pool Operations

OCEAN PINES – The association reports summer pool hours will likely be impacted as a lifeguard shortage continues.

Because of continued staffing issues related to the national lifeguard shortage, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) expects some pools to operate with limited hours this summer. OPA officials said pool schedules are likely to be similar to rotating hours announced last year.

“We continue to hear this is a national issue,” OPA Marketing and Public Relations Director Josh Davis said. “There’s just a shortage of guards to go around. Still, we continue to make every effort to hire more guards and make sure our homeowners, residents and guests have the best experience possible at our facilities.”

The association will announce the Monday-Sunday operating hours in advance, each Friday.

Announcements will be posted on the front door of each aquatics facility, and advertised on the Ocean Pines Association website, Facebook, and in a weekly email.

The likelihood of limited hours was previously publicized and listed on pool membership applications.

To try and combat the lifeguard shortage, the association hosted and participated in job fairs, increased lifeguard salaries, offered to pay for safety training, and posted job openings on the website, social media page, and through paid advertising in local press and through local schools. Davis noted the association also compared its compensation with neighboring communities and discussed the topic during monthly board meetings, to name a few efforts.

“We’re basically net even, staffing wise, to last year,” he said.

Following the association’s announcement on pool operations, Ocean Pines residents took to social media this week to share their concerns regarding hourly wages for lifeguards. According to a recent online job posting, wages ranged between $12.50 an hour to $14 an hour.

“For $14 an hour and having to clean up after people no wonder why …,” Rob Krout wrote on the association’s Facebook post. “That’s barely above minimum wage for a lifesaving position.”

Aquatics Director Kathleen Cook, however, said that hasn’t contributed to staffing issues.

“We’ve hired every candidate who came through the door over the last two years, and I haven’t lost one candidate because of pay.”

Officials say current job openings in Ocean Pines can be found on the association’s webpage,

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.