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Local pools facing lifeguard shortage heading into the summer swim season

With few in-person training sessions over the last year, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara has 20-25 open positions for lifeguards.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — They protect you at the pool and the beach, but now the nationwide labor shortage is affecting the supply of life guards heading into the summer swim season. 

With Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer just days away, some local pools are having trouble finding lifeguards to keep swimmers safe. 

The YMCA Buffalo Niagara is looking to fill 20-25 lifeguard positions for its facillities and camps. Their vice president of operations, Nick Bond, says one of the reasons they're short going into the season is because it's been over a year since there have been in-person training courses for new lifeguards. 

"Those trainings have been put on hold," he said. "We do have guidance on how to provide those programs to get new lifeguards trained, but the classes are smaller in size. So in a class where you might have typically 12 people, we might now only have 8. So we are limited a little bit on the number of people that are in each class."

Bond says the YMCA offers the training course, which can cost up to $300, to its new lifeguards for free, but they're also looking into other incentives for new guards. 

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