Lifeguard shortage leads DEP to prohibit swimming at some NJ state parks

The labor shortage across the country is now impacting some of New Jersey’s state parks.

News 12 Staff

Jul 19, 2021, 9:43 AM

Updated 1,002 days ago

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The labor shortage across the country is now impacting some of New Jersey’s state parks.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the agency that runs the parks, has prohibited swimming at some locations due to a lack of lifeguards.
A DEP spokesperson tells News 12 New Jersey, "Despite the challenges, we continue to work hard at recruitment of new and/or experienced lifeguards and are using all of the resources at our disposal to ensure New Jersey residents can enjoy swimming at New Jersey's state parks."
Attendance at the parks has been strong despite the shortage. DEP reports that many campsites are booked to capacity.
The State Park Services typically has nine sites where swimming is allowed. But because of the staffing shortage, swimming is being prohibited at Ringwood State Park, Swartswood State Park, Belleplain State Forest and the Spruce Run Recreation Area. Lakes at Bass River and Parvin State Parks are expected to open in August.
The lifeguard shortage has been an issue even at the Jersey Shore. Officials in Stone Harbor increased lifeguard pay to $20 per hour because of the shortage and increased staffing.
The State Parks Service generally hires 700 seasonal staffers. They will now hire lifeguards as young as 16 with salaries starting at $13 per hour to entice new hires. Positions are now open.
Officials say that the sooner more lifeguards are hired, the sooner swimming can resume at the parks.


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