Three western Mass. waterfronts to open as state looks to recruit more lifeguards

Three waterfronts in western Massachusetts overseen by the state will open on Saturday, but state officials are still trying to recruit more lifeguards.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation operates beaches at the DAR State Forest in Goshen, Hampton Ponds State Park in Westfield, and Chicopee Memorial State Park.

This summer, the state is offering sign-on bonuses of up to $1,000. It’s also increased hourly pay for lifeguards and other water safety staff to between $22 and $27 an hour.

Shawn DeRosa, director of pool and waterfront safety for the department, said the pandemic took a toll on the number of lifeguards available.

“A lot of pools had to close down for two summers and that affected the number of people that were able to become certified as lifeguards,” he said. “Many people lost their certification and others failed to get their original cert.”

The state also oversees outdoor pools in Agawam, Chicopee and Springfield. Those are scheduled to open on June 24.

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