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A Life-Threatening Summer Shortage Led to This Side Hustle for Seniors — No Electronic Devices Required The gig does pay, of course — but for these seniors, it's not all about the money.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Facing a lifeguard shortage, New York City's Parks Department expanded its recruitment to include older swimmers.
  • Four rookie lifeguards over the age of 64 enrolled in the "notoriously" difficult training program this summer.
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The U.S. is grappling with a national lifeguard shortage this summer — and New York City is dipping into an unusual talent pool.

Four rookie lifeguards over age 64 enrolled in the "notoriously challenging training program" this summer after the Parks Department broadened its recruitment approach, The New York Times reported.

Related: You May Have Fewer Options to Wade in the Water This Summer as Thousands of Lifeguard Chairs Are Left Unoccupied

In May, the Parks Department said it had hired and certified fewer than 500 lifeguards and hoped to have 900 by the time outdoor pools opened at the end of June, per Gothamist. According to the NYT, the number stands at 800 today.

The senior lifeguards will earn more than $21 an hour, but money aside, they're embracing the opportunity to positively impact their community — and having fun doing it.

"I love it," 69-year-old Daniel Kalmann, who'd quit his job as a bicycle tour guide and cut back on his credit-card processing business before picking up his whistle, told the NYT. "No device on me, just looking, looking, looking."

Related: Retiree Starts Side Hustle Out of Boredom - It Now Pulls $3K a Week

New York City's senior lifeguards are part of a growing number of older adults in the workforce. Roughly one in six retired Americans is considering getting a job, according to a recent study from Paychex.
Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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