Atlantic City to hold tryout for new lifeguards
Despite the promise of a pension, Atlantic City is coming up short with the number of lifeguards available for the summer.
Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey told the Press of Atlantic City he hopes to have 130 lifeguards on his roster to staff the 40 lifeguard chairs on the city's nearly 4 miles of beach, but has so far come up short.
For the firs time since 2013, a lifeguard tryout will be held on Sunday at the South Carolina Avenue beach starting at 9 a.m. Applicants will have to swim 500 yards in the ocean in under 10 minutes, swim 200 yards in a pool in under 4 minutes and complete a half-mile run in under 3 minutes, 45 seconds. A training academy takes place on the beach every afternoon from noon until 5 p.m. at States Avenue and the beach in front of Trump Taj Mahal.
Applications must be completed and turned in by Saturday. The minimum age to be on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol is 16.
“This is the first time in three years that we have had a test. That is the longest time between tests since 1940. The beach has always thrived on new blood, and that is something that we are in desperate need of," Downey told the newspaper. The plan is to have lifeguards trained and on the beach within two weeks. First year lifeguards earn $100 per week according to Downey.
During the ongoing budget Atlantic City budget battle, lifeguard pensions have become an issue. “I mean, for god’s sake, you have lifeguards who get pensions in Atlantic City. Lifeguards get pensions in Atlantic City — could we please? This is ridiculous,” Gov. Chris Christie said at a press conference in March.
The pensions are possible thanks to a 1920s-era state law that requires lifeguards to be paid pensions. State Senate President Steve Sweeney is co-sponsor of a bill that would allow any municipality with pensions for lifeguards to end the funds or stop any new enrollments.