BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Lifeguard shortages were reported earlier this year, and it’s not just happening in North Dakota.

According to national news sources, about a third of public pools across the country had to shorten their hours or close altogether.

“We’re really taking it season by season, and what I mean by that is the girl season ended in November and now we are into the boys,” said Mike Wald facility and program director for the Aquatic and Wellness Center.

A lifeguard training session was scheduled this Wednesday at the BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center. However, it was canceled because not enough people signed up. A problem our community has been seeing for a while now.

“We would really like to see more lifeguards to help give us a bigger selection for staffing that we need for certain events,” said Wald.

Many swimmers had to brave the lakes this past summer on their own because of the shortage.

Wald says lifeguards are considered their most important staff members.

“Our main goal is to have safe operations in our facility and lifeguards are very important. We have great water toys that kids can play with but we need a certain amount of staff to guard those,” said Wald.

Wald says it’s unfortunate to have to cancel the three-day training because of the importance lifeguards have with the facility’s operations.

“Without those people who are our current lifeguards and future lifeguards coming into our system we couldn’t open up our facility,” said Wald.

Despite this shortage, Wald says they have been luckier than others.

“We are able to open them full hours now. Our indoor aquatic center staff and swim meets. So we are fortunate to have that but to give some flexibility to our current staff it would be nice to have a handful more,” said Wald.

He says there will be more opportunities leading up to summer 2023 to apply and receive lifeguard training for those who are interested.