Lifeguard shortage leads to some public pools in Metro Detroit closing this summer

Several public pools in Metro Detroit are staying closed this season due to a lack of lifeguards.

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Several public pools in Metro Detroit are staying closed this season due to a lack of lifeguards.

Oakland County said it takes about 25 lifeguards to operate safely and this year they only had 10.

“There’s nobody more disappointed than our staff and myself. But again, safety was No. 1 priority,” Oakland County Parks Interim Executive Director Susan Wells said.

Oakland County Parks moved a handful of lifeguards from Waterford Oaks to Red Oaks to ensure that at least one waterpark was fully staffed.

“It’s a very demanding job. It’s something where you just can’t look at the water ever so often. It’s a complete scanning of the water at all times,” Wells said.

Parents hoping to take their children to the waterpark were surprised about the closures.

“We were actually really looking forward to them being open this year. I would think that there would be a lot of young people interested in being outside this summer,” a parent said.

Three years ago Oakland County started covering the cost of training, hoping more young people would decide to become lifeguards.

“It’s a huge responsibility for a 16-year-old,” Wells said.

Rolling Hills Water Park in Washtenaw County slashed capacity and West Bloomfield Parks removed two pools and replaced them with splash pads.

The lifeguard shortage is impacting many places. Several pools and waterparks have reduced hours, limited capacity or closed completely.

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Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

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