By Chuck Larsen, SC Associate Publisher
The Sanibel Recreation Center is offering lifeguard training in hopes of recruiting more lifeguards to expand the aquatics program.
Aquatics manager Steve Vela says they usually have 10 to 12 part- and full-time lifeguards, but after Covid, they are now down to just six lifeguards.
Vela says that with additional staff they can expand pool hours, add more pool programs, and offer swim lessons.
The popular deep water aerobics classes were given five days a week before Covid, but are now only available two days due to staff shortage.
The Sanibel Water Aquatics Team begins training this week with 40 children signed up. They have another 11 on the waiting list and cannot expand with current staffing.
The recreation center gives American Red Cross Lifeguard training sessions every three months. The next course runs Sept. 23-25.
Participants complete an online course before the first day of class and then attend three days of in-person classes at the Recreation Center.
Training includes CPR, First Aid and AED defibrillator skills. The training course gives participants the knowledge and skill-set to become professional lifeguards.
Enrolling in the training does not mean anyone has to work for the center, but Vela is hoping some will be interested in full- or part-time work. Starting pay has been raised to $17.09 per hour.
To obtain certification, participants must be at least 15 years old, able to attend all online and classroom sessions, complete the pretest, all skill checks, and score an 80 percent or higher on the written exam.
Those interested can enroll at the Recreation Center, 3880 Sanibel Captiva Rd., or call 239-472-0345.