Rehoboth, Ocean City Beach Patrol getting ready for this upcoming summer season
DELMARVA– Beach Patrol’s across Delmarva have been searching for guards to train and test the waters to get a spot on their team this summer.
“With the full-times, the part-times, and then the new hires we are just hoping to be able to staff 90 stands everyday, full staffed,” Captain Butch Arbin, with OC Beach Patrol, said.
Ocean City Captain Butch Arbin said they are doing more with recruiting than ever before.
“Trying to make people realize that we have jobs and they don’t have to be certified, they don’t have to have experience and we will train them while we pay them,” Captain Arbin, said.
Last year, the pandemic presented challenges for Beach Patrols. Captain of the Rehoboth Beach Patrol said they were understaffed by 10 to 15 guards.
“Last year, we had to close some of the little areas down that we did not have enough guards for,” Captain Jeff Giles, with the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, said. “I don’t see that being an issue this summer.”
So, this season try outs were earlier and they’re now almost fully staffed. While that may not be an issue this time around, there are other waves these guards may have to get over.
“It’s so expensive now for the lifeguards to find housing in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth and Lewes area, you know making $16, $17 an hour just does not going to be able to cut with some of the rents,” Captain Giles said.
And, according to Captain Arbin, Ocean City is no different.
“They switched to doing Airbnb’s and other things like that rather than seasonal rentals,” Captain Arbin. “So, the seasonal rental market has diminished, that’s hurt us.”
Rehoboth and Ocean City said they are working on tackling those housing issues.
But even with these challenges, beach patrol leaders are offering new incentives.
“We did move up our pay this year, almost $2 an hour, pretty much we had to because everybody including all the businesses and so on were moving up also,” Captain Giles said.
“This summer we are paying $17.75 an hour for a surf rescue technician, while they are in training, and other positions on the patrol took a big increase,” Captain Arbin said.
Captain Arbin said they will have a loyalty bonus as well, where anybody working after August 15 will receive an additional $1 an hour. The city will also allow the beach patrol to give out travel stipends. The Ocean City Beach Patrol said they will have a recruiting event this Sunday at Ocean Pines Sports Core. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and it closes at 10:15 a.m.
Rehoboth said they are done with their try-out events for this year.
Both Beach Patrols said they have a good amount of lifeguards returning back for this summer.