Last chance for Philly lifeguards to earn a bonus and help all pools open this summer

Workers who want to keep an eye on swimmers at Philly pools this summer must register by mid-April to qualify for a $1000 bonus.

Kids playing in the pool

O’Connor Pool in the Fitler Square neighborhood is one of many Philly public pool where kids and families cooled off on July 21, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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An opportunity to earn a financial bonus will soon expire for future Philadelphia lifeguards. Workers who want to keep an eye on swimmers at city pools this summer must register by mid-April to qualify for a $1000 bonus.

“If you want to be a lifeguard, if you sign up by April the 15th and you work throughout the entire summer, you get an additional $1,000,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson. “That’s our incentive for you to become a lifeguard.”

Lifeguards who miss the April deadline are still eligible for a $500 bonus if they register by May 15 and work the entire summer.

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To meet its goal of opening every pool full-time this summer, the city needs 400 lifeguards, as well as cleaning staff and maintenance workers to keep the pools clean and operational.

Deputy Managing Director Vanessa Garrett Hartley said all 60 pools will open this summer even if they don’t get 400 guards.

“We will find the way to make sure, and we will not open the pool without a lifeguard,” she said.

If fewer than 400 lifeguards are hired, the city will open pools on a rotating basis, with limited hours to ensure all neighborhoods get some time in their local pools. “We will not open a pool without making sure we have everybody that we need there to make it safe for your young people to come out and swim.”

To become a city lifeguard, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be 16 years old.
  • Pass the lifeguard screening test (see below).
  • Complete a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Course (free for those 24 and under).

The training and screening programs for lifeguards are available at:

The pay starts at $16 an hour. You can reserve a spot for the training here.

Commissioner Slawson said she hopes the bonus will help fill the ranks quickly so that young people throughout the city can find a pool to cool off and have fun this summer.

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