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Severe lifeguard shortage in Massachusetts leaves beaches, lakes unprotected

Massachusetts faces severe lifeguard shortage
Massachusetts faces severe lifeguard shortage 02:02

NATICK - There's a severe shortage of lifeguards at pools, ponds, lakes and beaches in Massachusetts. 

At Cochituate State Park in Framingham, lifeguard seats remain empty. 

"It's concerning for me as a parent. I'm really good about watching my own kids; some mothers aren't so much," said one mother who was there spending the day. 

 At Longfellow Health Club in Natick, lifeguard training is taking place. Aquatics Director Chelo Krag says here they have plenty of lifeguards on duty but understands why other places are struggling to fill the position. 

"It really comes down to funding. A lot of places don't have the money to pay their lifeguards but also to become a lifeguard costs money - $300 to $400, depending on where you go.  Just to get that piece of paper that says you can apply for a job." 

Krag said she is very concerned about other places not having lifeguards on duty. There have been several local drownings already this season.  

"It's really worrisome because when you have lifeguards not able to supervise those bodies of water, I am not going to be surprised if we see an uptick in drownings because of the lifeguard shortage," she added. 

Another reason for this lifeguard shortage is that during the height of the pandemic there was little to no lifeguard training place for nearly two and many lifeguards let the certification expire. 

"Some people who were already lifeguard-certified were then being told you can't become a lifeguard again until you take the full course all over again because, after two years, that's what is required," Krag said. 

Back at the beach, parents are also worried and keeping a close watch and hoping to see these seats filled. 

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