Warsaw Parks Department says it needs to hire more lifeguards

Warsaw is seeking to hire some more lifeguards.

The number of applicants for those summer jobs is down this year and the city parks and recreation department only has about half of the lifeguard staff they would like to have heading into the Memorial Day weekend in less than two weeks.

As a result – for now – the city will partially staff beaches at its two lakes with lifeguards, and rely on “Swim at your own risk” signs posted near the waters when lifeguards are not working.

“We’re not the only ones struggling,” said Larry Plummer, parks superintendent. “Everybody is struggling.”

“We’re taking the best approach we can take with public safety,” Plummer said.

The department has seven lifeguards for the summer, but normally the department has between 12 to 15, said Sheila Wieringa, recreation director.

City beaches formally open a week from Saturday.

For now, Wieringa said, there will be no guards at either Center or Pike lakes on Mondays and Tuesdays. Both lakes will have lifeguards on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, but only one of the lakes will have a lifeguard on Saturdays and Sundays.

Wieringa said they would likely staff Center Lake rather than Pike because Center is busier on weekends.

“There is the potential that we would have more lifeguards come in this week. If that’s the case, things could change further,” Wieringa said.

The city regularly uses the “swim at your own risk” signs after lifeguards end their shifts in the early evenings, Plummer said.

The parks department continues to take applications.  The jobs pay $9.50 per hour.