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Lifeguards still needed at state parks, including in Milford, Westport, Shelton and Torrington

MADISON - There continues to be a shortage of lifeguards at Connecticut state parks and beaches, but it’s not too late to sign up and get trained.

Beginning Saturday morning at 10, lifeguard chairs will be manned for the summer.

“The group of people that I work with is so incredible we learn from each other so much, said Christa Marzitelli, a lifeguard from Madison. “And I love like talking with the patrons, too.”

The beaches at Hammonassett and Rocky Neck only have a couple of openings each for lifeguards, which is where Fox 61 spoke to the lifeguard crew Friday.

“I want to be a lifeguard here because it’s a great team, said Jaimie Fuller of Middletown. “They work really, really hard to keep the park safe.”

But, there is a big need for more lifeguards at Silver Sands in Milford, Sherwood Island in Westport, Indian Well State Park in Shelton and Burr Pond in Torrington.

“It’s a national shortage of lifeguards and we in Connecticut are definitely feeling that,” Sarah Battistini, Water Safety Coordinator, CT State Parks. “I  know that from my colleagues over at the town park and rec departments and the local YMCA’s.”

She says there are numerous reasons why folks just are not interested.

“People that want to work outside, the level of responsibility, the level of training investment you have to put in,” are some of the reason she gave.

She notes that lifeguards train every day. And, if you think it’s a job where you only get paid if it does not rain, that's not the case.

“We are able to provide our lifeguards an option of doing maintenance on rainy days so that we can guarantee them 40 hours a week,” Battistini said.

And, at Hammonasset, their lifeguards are confident.

“We are the most in shape, the most prepared and we’re ready to go,” said Kenneth Vaughan, a Hammonasset lifeguard from Middletown.

Asked if he ever watched Baywatch for lifeguarding tips, Matthew Robbins, a Hammonassett lifeguard from North Branford said, “I have watched Baywatch, but they get a lot of stuff wrong.”

To find a job as a lifeguard at a state park look for CT State Park lifeguards on social media and there’s an easy online application. If you are hired, you will go through for 8 hour days of training and then you’re on guard.

For more information, click here.

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