Too few lifeguards: what will happen to the outdoor pool season?

staff shortage
Too few lifeguards: what will happen to the outdoor pool season?

Many swimming pools lack staff

A lifeguard monitors activity in an outdoor pool. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa/archive image

© dpa-infocom GmbH

With the rising temperatures, more and more families are drawn to bathing. But there are no swimming champions in Bavaria this year. Is the outdoor pool season falling through?

Lifeguards are desperately needed in the Free State. This was announced by the Federal Association of German Swimming Champions in Bavaria. The shortage is very large, says state chairman Ralf Großmann. Many positions are vacant.

In order for their pools to remain open, lifeguards would sometimes work 70 to 80 hours a week. “They have no more free time, they have no family life, nothing more.” Großmanns Bad in Meitingen (Augsburg district) has therefore shortened its opening hours. The “SunSplash” outdoor pool is closed two days a week.

The natural pool in Keidenzell in Langenzenn (district of Fürth) is currently completely closed. At the moment nobody can take over the bathing supervision here, says Sabine Kratsch from Stadtwerke Langenzenn. “And if no miracle happens, then nothing will change that.”

After all: In the often particularly hot month of August, the people of Middle Franconia can still cool off in the natural pool. Then the local indoor pool can hire staff.

There is a similar deal in Nuremberg. Here, too, two swimming pools are sharing their lifeguards this year. In Nuremberg, however, it is not a glance at the calendar that shows which of the two to head for, but a glance upwards. Depending on the weather, either the Nordostbad indoor pool or the Naturgartenbad outdoor pool is open. “We’ll get through the outdoor pool season like this,” says Joachim Lächele from the Nuremberg baths administration.

The outdoor wave pool in Peiting (Weilheim-Schongau district), on the other hand, has given up for this year. Mayor Peter Ostenrieder says it’s utopian that staff are still falling from the sky.

But where have all the lifeguards gone in Bavaria? “Due to Corona, you weren’t allowed to open the pools and of course people were looking for something else,” says Großmann from the Swimming Masters Association. Because of the pay and the working hours at weekends and during the holidays, the job had already become unattractive for many in previous years.

And there is another problem with young people: “They say 30 percent don’t pass the exam, 30 percent stop afterwards, and only a good 30 percent stay in the job.” In Bavaria, between 130 and 140 trainees would take the exam to become specialist employees for pool operations. According to experience, around 40 new swimming champions remained for the Free State. “They’re not enough at the back and front,” says Großmann.

According to Großmann, nobody has to be afraid of unnoticed swimming accidents or a lack of supplies on a family trip to the outdoor pool: “Safety will not suffer as a result.” Where open, supervision is guaranteed.

dpa

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