NYC Parks Eases Lifeguard Testing Time

Lifeguard recruitment is underway, and NYC Parks recently announced some changes to the qualification test.

In an article by Gothamist on January 6, First Deputy Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-­Rosa said they are trying to make things a little easier in an attempt to boost recruitment after low staffing numbers last summer.

When new lifeguards take the qualification test, they typically must be able to swim 50 yards (two laps) within 35 seconds. Starting this year, potential candidates have 45 seconds to complete this swim to qualify for the 16-week training. Additionally, for the first time, applicants will receive their swim time at the end of the test, so they know how much they need to improve, and will be given another opportunity to test if they failed. After completing training, the final 440-yard swim test times of 6 minutes and 40 seconds for beach or 7 minutes and 40 seconds for pool still applies.

However, a temporary pay increase that was used to lure newcomers last summer, with a starting pay of $19.46, is returning to a $16.10 an hour starting pay this year, but this may increase.

NYC Parks is aiming to staff their pools and beaches with at least 1,400 lifeguards this year. Lifeguard qualifying tests are currently underway at five facilities in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. In addition to the 50-yard swim in 45 seconds, candidates must be 16 years old by the start of employment, and have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without corrective lenses. To register, head to:

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