Despite a damp spring and a relatively cool start to the summer, temperatures have slowly climbed to pool-going territory across the Palouse.
From early indications, families are returning in healthy numbers to local pools, which have made an extra effort this spring to make sure they have the lifeguards to keep swimmers safe.
While the past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic upheaval has left some pools nationwide searching for more lifeguards, pools on the Palouse have found enough to open before the heat wave hits.
The American Lifeguard Association estimates a lifeguard shortage across the country will affect about one-third of U.S. pools, according to a story from the Associated Press last month.
Bernard J. Fisher II, director of health and safety at the association, expects that to grow to half of all pools by August, when many teenage lifeguards return to school.
Fisher said the shortage began about 20 years ago when baby boomers began to retire. About the same time, more pools were being built at condominium complexes, hotels and public community centers, Fisher said in a recent story in the Tacoma News Tribune.
The number of young people interested in becoming lifeguards did not keep up with the demand, he said. In addition, starting pay for lifeguards lags behind many other jobs, though some cities are rampingup incentives.
The city of Moscow on June 11 announced lifeguard pay would be increased to $13.60 anhour at the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center in east Moscow. Lifeguards at the popular facility must be 15 or older.
The job listing touts being a lifeguard as a flexible summer job — with a variety of shifts all week to work with any schedule. All training is provided to new hires.
In Pullman, lifeguards can make between $14.75 and $15.75, according to the job listing still available on the Pullman website. Pullman lifeguards can work as either a lifeguard, swim instructor or both.
One thing all lifeguards have in common is the need for training.
Garrett Stucki, a manager at the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatic Center, said lifeguards go through a four-day training through the American Red Cross and training for CPR and rescue skills. After the training, lifeguards attend department training, which Stucki said covered how the pool is run.
“It’s a pretty intense course, I would say,” Stucki said. “But anybody can pass it as long as you’re dedicated to it.”
Stucki is confident the lifeguards at the Moscow pool will provide a safe environment for swimmers, who also have a part to play, he said.
“Put on tons of sunscreen … always be drinking plenty of water … (those are) just the two simplest things,” Stucki said. “At the end of the day, our lifeguards will take care of you … as long as you do your part.”
PUBLIC POOLSON THE PALOUSE
Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center
Location: 830 N. Mountain View Road, Moscow
Hours: Open swim all ages noon-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; adult only swim 9-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: $5.75 (age 4-17); $7.75 (18-64); $5.75 (65 and older). Children 0-3 free.
Info: (208) 882-7665; bit.ly/3uhpr5b
University of Idaho Swim Center
Location: 1030 S. Rayburn St., Moscow
Hours: Lap pool 6-8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4:30-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday
Cost: Range from $5 a day to $60 for the summer
Info: (208) 885-7518;bit.ly/3OEH4Uv
Pullman Aquaticand Fitness Center
Location: 500 NW Greyhound Way, Pullman
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5:30 a.m. to noon Friday with open swim from 5-8 p.m. Friday
Cost: $4 (ages 4-17); $6 (18-59); $4 (60 and older); $15 (families); children 0-3 free.
Info: (509) 338-3290;bit.ly/3AkYzVR
Reaney Park Pool
Location: 460 NE Morton St., Pullman
Hours: 1-6 p.m. daily
Cost: $5 (18 and older); $4 (4-17); children 0-3 free
Info: (509) 338-3221;bit.ly/3uFNMC3
Colfax Municipal Pool
Location: 1301 N. Morton St.
Hours: Open swim 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Saturday; family swim 6-8 p.m. Wednesday
Info: Follow Colfax Municipal Pool on Facebook for pool information.
Potlatch City Pool
Location: 700 Ponderosa Drive in Potlatch
Hours: Open swim from 12:30-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; family swim from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Cost: $4; children 3 and younger are free with a paid adult. Season passes available.
Info: (208) 857-1850;bit.ly/3IfvUn2
Kendrick War Memorial Pool
Location: Sixth and Main streets, Kendrick
Hours: Open swim: 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; Night swim: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; Lap swim: 6-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
Cost: $3.25 (ages 3 and up); $4 (Lap and water fitness); children 0-2 are free
Info: (208) 669-2027;bit.ly/3nvlc2b
Garfield City Pool
Hours: 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Family swim: 6-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2-7 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Day pass is $2; individual and monthly passes are $35 and family passes start at $60
Palouse Pool and Park
Location: Corner of Main and Division streets
Hours: Open swim 1-4:30 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; Lap swim and water aerobics 5-6 p.m. Monday through Friday; Open swim 1-4:30 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Lap Swim 5-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Nelson can be reachedat email@example.com.