River lovers and seasonal job hunters take note: the National Park Service (NPS) has released its seasonal job openings, and it’s especially eager for lifeguards.
The three beaches of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area attract swimmers in droves each summer. Last year, despite the park’s popularity as a swimming spot, the NPS had trouble finding enough lifeguards to staff all three swim spots. Only Milford Beach in Pennsylvania had lifeguards, leaving swimmers at Smithfield Beach, Pennsylvania and Turtle Beach in Hardwick to swim at their own risk.
That’s not a chance that the NPS wants to take in a park where 103 people have drowned since 1971. The NPS did not hire any lifeguards at the height of the pandemic, which likely explains why 2020 was the second-deadliest year for the park with five drowning deaths.
This year, the NPS hopes to hire up to 12 lifeguards so that all three beaches can stay open and safe.
The NPS is looking for physically fit candidates with lifeguard certification as well as a CPR/First Aid/AED training certificate. Candidates will need to pass a drug test and physical, both paid for by the NPS, and be able to work from mid-June until the end of August with the possibility of extension.
Job seekers might be enticed by the pay– $16.81/hr for a recreation assistant/lifeguard and $18.87/hour for a lead recreation assistant/lifeguard– as well as the ability to earn sick and annual leave, Sunday premium pay and federal holiday pay.
Kathleen Sandt, public ]affairs officer, also notes that the position may be of special interest to people who hope to join the park system.
“Lifeguarding for the NPS is a great way to get one’s foot in the door if they are interested in a career with the NPS; many of our employees got their start as lifeguards,” she wrote in an email. “It’s also a great way to earn good money over the summer. These positions are ideal for college students or teachers and even for retirees.”
Interested candidates can file an application at the USA Jobs links in the NPS’ press release until vacancies are filled.
Turtle Beach, situated six miles north of I-80 on Old Mine Road, is the newest of the park’s three beaches. A grassy beach equipped with picnic tables and restrooms, it was called “the most peaceful swimming hole in New Jersey” and “an underrated gem” by local travel writer Kim Magaraci.
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.