Lifeguard shortage reduces swimmer capacity at Denver public pools

DENVER -- A shortage of lifeguards in Denver could mean less time in pools this year.

With another round of temperatures in the 90s in the forecast, city pools that just opened around Denver will be busy.

But this year, officials might be turning away people earlier than usual.

The pool at Curtis Park on Thursday will open for the first time this year, leaving the pool at Congress Park as the only one still waiting to welcome swimmers.

Denver Parks and Recreation said it still needs to fill 38 lifeguard positions at its 30 pools across the city. That means fewer people will be allowed in the pools than in years past.

There must be one lifeguard on duty for every 20 people who are in the pool.

"Now that it’s hot, it’s pretty busy," Denver aquatics supervisor Lisa Perry said. "So if you’re thinking about camping out for the day, I would definitely encourage folks to come early, right at open swim.

"And then maybe you could call ahead if you’re nervous about coming and see what capacity is like that day because we are reaching at capacity at some of our facilities early.”

Swimming pool hours won't be impacted. It's just the number of people who are allowed in them at any given time.

The issue could be worse at certain pools that are very low staffed.

Hourly wages for the lifeguard positions start about $10 an hour.