Why older lifeguards are watching the pool this summer

Author: CBS News
Deborah Holland CBS NEWS

It may once have been the coolest summer job ever. But teenagers like Lara Wilkniss say summer lifeguarding isn’t in her plans this year.

“We would love to go lifeguard and have fun and make friends,” Wilkniss said. “We don’t have time for any of this. We don’t even have time to build a resume. That’s how booked we are during the day.”

That’s a big problem for Katie Harker, who hires lifeguards.

“There doesn’t seem to be enough millennials out there looking for lifeguarding jobs. There is a shortage of them,” she said.

It turns out there were enough people in the job pool — they just hadn’t been asked.

“Both my kids left home and I just had extra time, I don’t like sitting around just being bored and so I just got back into it,” said Deborah Holland.

She showed up to become a lifeguard, even though she’s nearly two decades older than some of the other applicants. But that’s changing.

“I think a lot more people my age are getting into physical activity and are physically fit,” Holland said.

It turns out, Harker is impressed with the new applicants.

“Our best experience has been working with seasoned lifeguards and veterans and people that are more mature that bring a level of seriousness to what we do because it is a matter of life and death for us,” said Harker.

All lifeguards have to go through extensive training and pass a rigorous physical fitness test, no matter how old they are. But the older lifeguards say they’re more than up to the challenge.

MORECape Coral looking to fill 41 lifeguard positions

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