State parks in Maine are again dealing with a shortage of lifeguards.
John Bott, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, says that although parks began recruiting last fall, there are still open lifeguard positions, especially in southern Maine.
Lifeguards employed by the state this summer will make $11.09 an hour. But Bott says state parks, which set wages according to state employment regulations, cannot compete with the private sector by increasing pay to attract lifeguards.
"That's something that is governed by state employment rules, and that's definitely a weakness,” Bott says. “We did an assessment a few years back and found that our pay was comparable, at that point, but in the last year or two the economy has really taken off. I suspect that the pay is not as close as it was before we started having this unbelievably strong economy."
Bott says state parks are posting lifeguards only at peak times of the day, and notifying beachgoers when no lifeguard is on duty.