The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently announced that the agency is offering bonuses totaling up to $1,000 to qualified lifeguard applicants for the 2022 season. An early sign-on bonus of $500 will be offered to candidates who commit to being an agency lifeguard for the summer season by Sunday, March 27. The sign-on bonus is in addition to the agency’s $500 retention bonus that will be provide to lifeguards who continue to work for the department through the end of the season. DCR has also raised the hourly rate for lifeguards for the 2022 season to between $21 and $26 depending on position and associated certifications (last year’s starting rates were $20 for lifeguards and $21 for head lifeguards). Lastly, DCR has also created a new Bureau of Pool and Waterfront Safety to better prioritize water safety for all visitors.
“In an effort to enhance water safety and prevent dangerous situations from occurring, our Administration has taken an approach that includes both increase water safety education and additional safety measures,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By offering early sign-on bonuses, we hope to engage with candidates sooner in the process and ensure the state parks system has a full complement of lifeguards for the upcoming summer season.”
“Lifeguards serve as an important component in our efforts to keep children and families safe while visiting waterfronts and pools throughout the state parks system,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With the recently created Bureau of Pool and Waterfront Safety and the early recruitment of lifeguards, we will hit the ground running and provide another summer of exceptional water recreational activities for all to enjoy.”
Furthermore, DCR’s Bureau of Pool and Waterfront Safety will include three newly created positions that will work closely with one another. These positions include Director of Pool and Water Safety, a Chief Lifeguard, and a Director of the Learn to Swim Program. Interested applicants should apply online through the MassCareers job portal.
“The state parks system’s beaches and pool are popular places for people of all abilities to visit and enjoy the summer with friends and family,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Lifeguards keep our beaches safe, and working in this essential role can be a rewarding career with good compensation so I encourage anyone interested to apply to join our team.”
Currently, DCR is actively recruiting individuals to become a lifeguard at agency-managed inland and coastal waterfronts, and deep-water swimming pools, particularly at Central and Eastern Massachusetts locations. DCR lifeguards are professional rescuers who are trained to prevent injuries and respond in the event of an emergency to help save a life. As part of a team, lifeguards must work together calmly and efficiently to manage potential crisis situations and ensure the safety of all visitors. To be considered for a DCR lifeguard position, applicants must be at least 16 years of age by the date of hire, must complete lifeguard training, and must be certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The agency offers free training classes and certification to lifeguards who commit to DCR summer employment prior to the opening of designated swimming areas. Candidate training and certification dates and locations are listed at mass.gov/lifeguards for qualified candidates who commit to guarding for the summer season.
“The creation of a new Bureau of Pool and Waterfront Safety serves as another significant example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts in making the state park system’s waterfronts and pools safer places for children and families to visit and enjoy,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “Additionally, every year the agency recruits hundreds of lifeguards to provide a watchful eye on recreational swimmers, and by offering the new early sign-on bonus, we are seeking to jump start that process from years past.”
This year’s efforts further the Baker-Polito Administration’s aggressive steps taken last year in making all waterfronts safer locations for visitors. In August 2021, the Administration made available $475,000 for nonprofit and private entities to apply for funding through the Safe Water Initiative Massachusetts (SWIM) Program to expand free beginner swim lessons to Massachusetts residents of all ages. Additionally, DCR coordinated a series of free Water Safety Days programming last summer at select agency-managed pools throughout the state to improve water safety. Also last year, DCR fabricated and installed new multilingual swimming safety signage at several unguarded waterfront locations to increase water safety awareness.