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City Offers $150 Lifeguard Hiring Incentive; City Pools to Open on Staggered Schedule

This article was archived on 7/31/2021

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, a lifeguard shortage is threatening to delay summer fun at Tulsa Parks community pools. 

All City pools were scheduled to open on June 5, but due to the lack of qualified lifeguard hires, pools will now open on a staggered schedule. 

Starting June 7, for the first two weeks, the tentative schedule is as follows:

This schedule is subject to change at a moment’s notice. With fewer staff members, some areas and amenities may be closed or unavailable at certain times. If additional guards are hired, more pools will be open at the same time.

So far, only five lifeguards have been hired to work across the City's four public pools this summer.

“The pandemic created a perfect storm when it comes to recruiting for these summer jobs,” said Anna America, the City’s Chief of Culture and Recreation. “Our most successful recruiting efforts are at our local high schools, but we haven’t been able to host job fairs or get in touch with our younger generations who are looking for summer employment.” 

Tulsa Parks must have 36 lifeguards to be considered fully staffed. In 2019, the department was able to successfully open all community pools with 24 employees.

This week, as a hiring incentive, Mayor Bynum approved a $150 signing bonus at the end of the first week and an additional $250 at the end of the season for new hires.

Lifeguard pay is $9.63 per hour.

Applicants need to be a strong swimmer, at least 16 years old and be certified in Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR for Pro-Rescuer, and First Aid. YWCA Lifeguarding certification also is accepted. Lifeguards who would like to teach American Red Cross swim lessons need to have Water Safety Instructor certification. If an applicant is not certified, they can work with the City’s Aquatics Coordinator to acquire certification. To apply, call Nick Pond, at (918) 596-2526 or email him at