Lifeguards attend training, receive pay increases heading into summer season

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. On top of having the opportunity to save lives, this year lifeguards in Rochester will make $20 an hour.

It’s why Sahara Walto joined others at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center Friday afternoon to get the necessary training to become certified lifeguards.

“To me, it definitely was a bigger incentive of course,” Walto said. “$20 an hour is really big but also, as you said, it shows the importance of lifeguards. I went to public pools as a kid. Lifeguards are what makes that possible.”

Walto said that lifeguards give peace of mind to both parents and children.

“I think it provides a sense of safety and comfort so they can enjoy the time and that their kids can also enjoy it, and they can be confident that their kids are safe and taken care of, and that there are people there to make them safe,” Walto said.

In March, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said the increase in compensation is a way to make sure pools are staffed and lifeguards are paid fairly.

“Take advantage of the opportunities,” Evans said. “Becoming a lifeguard today can improve your wallet as well as your quality of life and help many residents who rely on public pools and the beach to keep cool. Tell a friend. Tell a coworker. Tell a family member.”

This is something that Staryn Jones said she is looking forward to this summer after earning her certification.

“I’d say the compensation is something I was looking forward to but also having a meaningful job and skills that I can take with me for the rest of my life prompted me to take the job,” Jones said.

This gives many residents an opportunity to earn money and a way to give back to the community, one shift at a time.