AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number of days when people can take a dip in the cool waters at Barton Springs Pool will shrink later this month.
Starting on March 21, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department announced the pool will close on Mondays and Wednesdays because of a shortage of lifeguards with specific skills.
The city reported there are approximately 100 lifeguards who are ready to work with the needed certifications. However, those stationed at Barton Springs Pool require an additional Open Water Guard certification and training, and there are only 23 lifeguards available to do that right now.
Because those specific lifeguards also assist with training, the city must close Barton Springs Pool two days a week until staffing improves. It’s unclear, though, how long it will take to hire, train and certify enough lifeguards to reverse these plans.
“The Aquatic Division has made and will continue to make every attempt to have a fully operational schedule for the week of Spring Break (March 12 – March 20),” the city’s news release stated, “but with staffing levels so low, modification to the pool schedule or temporary capacity limitations may need to be imposed if there are any fluctuations in staff availability.”
The city is asking anyone who’d like to become a lifeguard to apply for open positions online.
The Monday and Wednesday closures won’t affect the 5-8 a.m. window when people can swim at their own risk at Barton Springs Pool, the city noted.
The popular pool will also close on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for its regularly-scheduled cleaning.