(WTNH) – The State of Connecticut is facing a hiring shortage that could impact your summer fun. Not enough people have applied to be lifeguards at state parks and beaches. So, state officials are asking high school students and college students if they want to spend their summers at the beach.

The lifeguard stand at Silver Sands State Park in Milford is empty right now. That is not a problem, but in a few weeks, the state needs trained people sitting in those chairs, and right now they do not have enough.

“In all honesty, it is challenging. We are seeing lower applicants than we did last year,” explained Mason Trumble, DEEP’s Assistant Director of State Parks. “We want to make sure we have people out in our parks to keep people safe as they are swimming this summer.”

The pandemic has driven up demand for outdoor recreation, meaning more people want to go to their local beaches. The pandemic has also made it very hard to find qualified applicants for any job.

“Here’s the good news: Starting salaries for lifeguards are $16 an hour,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D – Connecticut).

So state officials are trying to entice people to apply now. You do not need any experience as a lifeguard.

“We do have free training that is included as part of the job, so a really great opportunity to learn a new skill,” Trumble said. “Not only is this job fun, but it’s actually meaningful as well.”

There are at least eight different state parks looking for lifeguards right now: Burr Pond in Torrington; Black Rock in Watertown; Hammonasset Beach in Madison; Indian Well in Shelton; Rocky Neck in East Lyme; Sherwood Island in Westport; Silver Sands in Milford; and Squantz Pond in New Fairfield. Some are on the sound, some on inland ponds and lakes.

In all, the state needs about 100 lifeguards, and right now they only have 40. In addition to spending your summer at the beach, they say lifeguarding also provides a valuable experience.

“Leadership, communication, and teamwork, which look great on any college application or professional resume,” said Sarah Battistini, the DEEP Water Safety Coordinator.

You do have to meet certain requirements. There are qualifying tests to make sure you can swim pretty well, run pretty well, and are in all-around good shape. If you are interested in being a state lifeguard, you can find more information here.