St. John Tradewinds News

NPS Warns Public of Possible Lifeguard Shortage During Summer at Trunk Bay

 

The V.I. National Park is hoping to avoid staffing shortages which could leave the busiest VINP Beach without lifeguards on weekends at the consistently top-rated beach in the world.

A V.I. National Park Ranger who is also a certified lifeguard, is filling in for the summer season as the parks tries to keep lifeguards on duty at the popular Trunk Bay beach, above, with its underwater trail with one of the park’s three staff lifeguards on leave.

TRUNK BAY — Alert the media! Virgin Islands National Park Assistant Superindent Jayne Schaeffer wants to give the public plenty of warning about a potential lifeguard shortage at the the Number Two beach in the world.

The V.I. National Park has three lifeguards on staff to patrol the world-renowned Trunk Bay beach and to protect and serve the hordes of cruise ship passengers dropped there on any given weekday day.

As staffing levels and hiring throughout the National Park Service have been impacted by budget cutbacks, currently the Virgin Islands National Park has three lifeguards on duty which “works out okay with a little overlap,” Schaeffer explained.

But the senior lifeguard wants to take an extended summer break, and the VINP has not been able to complete the pending hire of a fourth, Schaeffer explained.

“One has been here a long time and wants to take time off,” the assistant superintendent explained of the emailed announcement which initially warned:

“Due to a staffing shortage in the park lifeguard operation, Trunk Bay Beach will not have lifeguards on duty during the weekends starting July 19, 2014. The normal 7 day week schedule will resume on September 20. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.”

Asst. Supt. Schaeffer subsequently muted her warning — somewhat.

 “We’re actually covered through August 3rd; one ranger is also certified as a life guard,” Schaeffer reported Friday, July 11.

“We’re also in the process of hiring,” Schaeffer added. “If it all works I’m hoping we’ll have someone by then.”