Galveston bumps lifeguard pay to attract more candidates

Like other businesses, Galveston has seen a lifeguard shortage impact due to COVID-19. Now, they're hoping this raise helps bring in new candidates.

Video Transcript

- I'll go walk and talk to him.

- Working as a Galveston Island Beach patrol lifeguard takes more than watching out for swimmers.

- With it being a red Flag Day, there's a drop off somewhere out here.

- You have to go through more than 100 hours of training, preparation that recent lifeguard Academy graduate Thomas Otten believes makes this crew ready for anything.

- This really is the best of the best. It's definitely some of the best, if not the best agency in the state of Texas.

- Otten moved from Austin to the Island this summer, a jump that got even sweeter because Otten received a raise his first week on the job.

- I don't know. I didn't know about that until after I passed actually. And so it was really cool the like, hey, you know, I went from being like, this is a pretty decent pay. If you like, really good pay.

- Days ago, the Galveston park board increase starting lifeguard pay from about $1,250 to $14 an hour. The reason, the Island needs more lifeguards.

- We're all sort of struggling with making sure we fill those life guard towers for the summer.

- Patrol chief Peter Davis says the Island is short 40 lifeguards. He says the pandemic has impacted the agency from the labor shortage. No Junior Academy and few international students. This busy holiday weekend they were able to post a lifeguard at every tower but it does impact other safety measures.

- And we also have a boat or two in the water that's patrolling and stuff like that. And so, lost child detail, you know, just someone just assigned to find lost kids at those beach parks.

- After increasing pay, beach patrol will host another lifeguard Academy soon as long as you're 16, past the drug, and physical test, you can join on and other lifeguards this summer. An assignment where you can work on more than a tan.

- I want to do something that challenges me, but something that's exciting and something where I get to make an impact on people.