Facing lifeguard recruitment problems, Shore town significantly raises pay

Lifeguards participating in the 2014 Seaside Park Lifeguard Tournament. (Justin Auciello/WHYY)

Lifeguards participating in the 2014 Seaside Park Lifeguard Tournament. (Justin Auciello/WHYY)

Stone Harbor has responded to a problem of recruiting and retaining lifeguards through a significant pay hike.

The pay for new lifeguards will increase from $100 daily last year to $155 in 2020, according to a Cape May County Herald report. The same increase applies across the pay scale.

A guard with 15 years of experience will move from $128 a year ago to $183 per day in 2020. Beach badge checkers will receive an increase from $9.50 to $16 last year to $12 to $18.50 in 2020.

And it’s not just a problem in Stone Harbor.

Capt. Geoff Rife of the Cape May Beach Patrol told NBC last summer that the shortage there was unprecedented. Authorities cited expensive housing at the Shore, low starting pay, and academic responsibilities, such as internships.

Staffing lifeguard stands has always been an issue in August, when college students and teachers return to school responsibilities.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal