Feature Article - June 2008
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The Deep End

Staffing and Seasonability

Staffing can be a big challenge for aquatic facilities—especially for those that are open only for the summer months. While aquatic respondents employed 25.6 percent fewer full-time workers than the average general respondent, they employed 45.9 percent more part-timers, and 46.2 percent more seasonal workers. They also projected greater increases in the number of seasonal employees working at their facilities, an increase of 68.9 percent over the next three years, compared to an industry-wide average of 62.9 percent.

One facility/program supervisor for a park district in Colorado cited staffing the city's seasonal waterpark with lifeguards as a top concern. "We hire approximately 125 lifeguards, and the difficulty is maintaining that number at the end of the season," he said.

This concern was echoed in other respondents' comments. One aquatic operations manager working at a Virginia resort said the facility was challenged by staffing due to its rural location. "We live in a rural area and need 170-plus aquatics staff during the school year and 250-plus during the summer season," he explained.

While not all aquatic respondents indicated a lifeguard was on duty during all hours of operation, the vast majority indicated that they do require certification for their staff members. A large percentage (81.5 percent) said they do have a lifeguard on duty during all hours of operation. (See Figure 38.)