SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s (D-Encinitas) bill to address shortages of qualified lifeguards at public pools has been signed by Governor Newsom on Tuesday.
AB 1672 will allow ocean lifeguards to provide services at local public swimming pools when there is a demonstrated staffing shortage. Nearly every industry has faced staffing shortages due to the pandemic and municipalities are no exception. Cities, in particular, are experiencing a shortage of lifeguards at city-run swimming pools and aquatic centers. This shortage has resulted in a reduction of hours of operation affecting all the services provided to the community including, aquatic fitness programs, and lifeguard training and certification programs.
One barrier in increasing the number of lifeguards on duty at public swimming pools is the certification equivalency for lifeguard training. Under current law, lifeguards are required to either have certification from the American Red Cross, the YMCA, or have equivalent qualifications as determined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Ocean lifeguards receive their certification by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) certified agencies. As such, cities are not able to use ocean lifeguards to provide services at city pools.
“It’s obvious that ocean lifeguards are trained to a standard that meets or exceeds the duty requirements to keep swimmers at our public pools safe,” Assemblymember Boerner Horvath said. “AB 1672 rectifies a technicality in existing law to allow our cities to effectively address staffing shortages at pools, keeping them safe and open.”
AB 1672 allows a local public agency to use ocean lifeguards to maintain required staffing levels and provide lifeguard services at public swimming pools during a staffing shortage. To do so, the public agency must be recognized by USLA as a certified agency and the local legislative body must approve a resolution stating the use of qualified lifeguard personnel is needed for a time period no longer than 12 months in order to maintain regular operating hours of public swimming pools.
Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath represents the 76th District, which encompasses Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, and Encinitas. You can learn more about Assemblymember Boerner Horvath at a77.asmdc.org, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.