Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598

Date: June 8, 2006
Contact: PJ Callahan
Phone: (360) 337-4481
No. 06-43

Lack of Applicants Means No Lifeguards on County Beaches This Summer

PORT ORCHARD, WAŚKitsap County has been actively recruiting summer lifeguards for the beaches at county lakes since February to no avail. The cause, according to County Administrator Cris Gears, is market conditions.

"With fewer and fewer public agencies providing lifeguard employment opportunities throughout Puget Sound, the pool of talent is shrinking every year," said Gears. "When the jobs dried up, so did the number of youth interested in training for and pursuing lifeguard opportunities."

In a recent check of several other nearby Puget Sound public agencies, the City of Seattle was the only agency still providing guarded beaches. For most agencies, at issue is the difficulty of controlling access to the beaches. While access to pools can easily be controlled to maintain a safe environment, beaches can be accessed 24-hours a day, seven days a week, whether staffed with lifeguards or not.

"Most of the near drowning incidents in Kitsap County have occurred before or after lifeguards were on duty," said Gears. "Some parents also leave kids unattended, which exacerbates the problem."

"The county has always put a high priority on citizen safety by providing lifeguards for our beaches during the summer," said Commissioner Jan Angel. "However, if we are unable to recruit qualified youth as lifeguards, we owe it to the public to let them know ahead of time that this is a service we will no longer be able to provide. We encourage you to make sure your children are supervised when swimming."

To contact the Kitsap County Public Information Office, 
call PJ Callahan at 360-337-4481 or email:

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014