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WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — It looks like Westport will have enough lifeguards to staff the town’s beaches this season after all.
The Westport Beach Committee has spent the past couple of weeks reaching out to nearby high schools, colleges and neighboring communities to recruit more lifeguards.
This comes after the town’s entire lifeguard staff opted not to return after the 2022 season.
Town Administrator James Hartnett told the Westport Board of Selectmen Monday that Westport has secured five lifeguards, while another three are taking classes and should be certified in the coming days. Hartnett said another lifeguard just needs to submit a copy of their certification.
That would bring the town’s total number of lifeguards to nine, should the other four complete their certification requirements. Hartnett said nine is the standard number of lifeguards the town needs to keep the beaches staffed throughout the week.
“We’ve had a particularly difficult time this year getting lifeguards for the town beach,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Richard Brewer said. “For a while, we didn’t have any candidates.”
“This is our main attraction,” he continued. “People want to come to the beach. They pay for it, so we want to use it.”
In addition to the recruitment efforts, the town organized a series of lifesaving courses to help train potential candidates.
While lifeguard shortages aren’t specific to Westport, Hartnett said the town has had a tough time competing with nearby Horseneck Beach. That’s because state beaches typically offer higher pay and sign-on bonuses, which Hartnett said the town will likely consider in the future.
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