Silver Beach limiting lifeguards on duty while struggling to fill positions
ST. JOSEPH, Mi, -- When beachgoers have already packed the shore around Silver Beach-- its a sign that Summer is in full swing in Southwest Michigan.
But now, some of them are going to be seeing a different, literal kind of sign on the beach. Instead of one promising fun-- this one comes with a warning: Berrien County Parks and Recreation announced that on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays this Summer, there will no longer be lifeguards on duty.
According to Jill Adams, with the Parks Department, it's always been a challenge finding enough staff for the Summer months. She said they've been lucky to have enough lifeguards in the past, but this season-- as with many other jobs-- they've found themselves short staffed.
“We realize we want lifeguards just like everybody else, every single day," Adams said. “We’re trying to manage and take care of the lifeguards that we have, and make sure that they’re safe when they are working. And the result is, on slower days of the week, we may not have lifeguards in the stands.”
The beachgoers I spoke with understood the difficulty that comes with finding staff these days-- but it does make some of them a little leery not having any lifeguards around to help-- even those who were former lifeguards.
“We feel okay. We’re watching our kids, but it would definitely be nice to have that professional backup. It would just be a little more security and comfort knowing they were here," said beachgoer Jackie Gable-- who was a lifeguard at Pointe O'Woods Golf and Country Club.
Adams said that the public reaction has also been one of understanding.
Even though the season is already underway, she's still looking to hire more staff, and has even offered a pay raise to all lifeguards, and will even reimburse some of the training costs.
“We just need a few more people to come on to keep our beaches safe, and we’re happy to get them up to speed and in the stands as quickly and as safely as we can," Adams said.
But would the job possibly interest any former lifeguards?
“Um, I’m pretty rusty, but I could give it a try if they need my help!” joke Gable.
Interested and qualified applicants can apply here: Employment | Berrien County, MI