SEATAC, Wash. -- For the first time ever, lifeguards will not be staffed at SeaTac’s Angle Lake.
It’s the same lake where a teen nearly drowned on Wednesday night, and a man drowned in May.
Normally by the Fourth of July weekend, lifeguards would already be on duty at Angle Lake, but the City of SeaTac said there weren’t enough qualified applicants this year.
On a warm summer evening, the lifeguard stand at Angle Lake sits empty.
“I was wondering when I came out here, I was like where’s the life guard,” said Joseph Guillermo, a grandfather who brought his granddaughters to the park to enjoy the water.
For the first time since the city started providing lifeguards in 1992, there will be no lifeguards this summer at the lake.
“It’s troubling at times because we know a lot of people go down and Angle Lake is a very popular park and not too many cities have waterfronts where we provide swimming,” said Lawrence Ellis, Director of Parks and Recreation at the City of SeaTac.
Ellis said there needs to be a minimum of 12 lifeguards at the lake plus a supervisor, but this year, he was only able to hire 3 qualified lifeguards.
“When the economy is strong there are other opportunities for young people, so we’re being competitive with everyone else,” added Ellis.
Anyone who comes out to enjoy the water this summer will be swimming at their own risk
“I’m a good swimmer but still I would feel a lot safer with life guards,” said Trevor Dugent, a 13-year-old who enjoys swimming at the lake.
Joseph Guillermo, said he brings his granddaughters to enjoy the lake several times a week. He was surprised to hear there were no lifeguards on duty.
“I’m going to come back and keep an eye on my grand kids and other kids. If I need to go in there I will go in and rescue anyone who needs help,” said Guillermo, who spent time in the Navy.
Guillermo even had his life-jackets with him in case his granddaughters wanted to play in the deeper end of the lake.
“The girls like jumping off the deep end, so you know, the life-jackets are a back-up,” added Guillermo.
The city wants parents watch their kids closely because things at a lake are much different than a pool.
“Make sure you supervise your children and know your limits in swimming and know that being in a lake area is dangerous. It’s not like a pool so it’s very dangerous to be out there in the water,” added Ellis.
Many at the lake believe lifeguards should be present in case something goes wrong.
“Kids can mess around and if one of them starts drowning, if the parents don’t see it, that’s exactly why there should be lifeguards,” added Dugent.
The city plans to put up signs warning people that there are no lifeguards on duty.
However; it is hopeful that more people will apply so that they might be able to get some lifeguards out on the lake before the summer is over.
To learn more about being a lifeguard visit the the City of SeaTac webpage.