A staffing shortage is causing some Rockaway Beach lifeguards to fly solo, creating a potentially dangerous situation, guards told The Post.
Lifeguards at the city beach said the long hours on the stand alone compromise safety as they become fatigued or have to deal with multiple rescues. Some staged a protest on Friday.
“If you were out in the water drowning, four of us (have) a lot better chance of seeing you than if I’m by myself on that chair. Especially on a day like today: foggy, muggy,” one lifeguard in his 10th year said Saturday.
Others said they were not even allowed to take bathroom breaks, a distraction that made it harder to focus on swimmers. They said supervisors were not sympathetic.
“All they do when we try to explain to them that we need help and we need the manpower is just, like, ‘Well, you get paid for eight hours.’ ” one guard said.
The Parks Department is missing one-third of its lifeguards which also forced the cancellation of swimming lessons, water exercise classes and swim teams as pools opened for the season Saturday.
The department said it “expected” to have 950 lifeguards ready to go as 49 outdoor pools welcomed swimmers. Beaches already opened May 29.