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Friday, December 2, 2022

City of Ocala Aquatic Fun Centers reducing operation hours due to lifeguard shortage

The City of Ocala’s Aquatic Fun Centers will soon be implementing a reduction in hours of operation to maintain state safety guidelines amid a critical lifeguard shortage.

These reduced hours of operation will begin on Tuesday, July 12. According to the American Lifeguard Association, there is a nationwide lifeguard shortage that is affecting approximately one-third of the country’s public pools.

Preston Pooser, Ocala Recreation and Parks Director, stated that this has been an unfortunate trend over the last several years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have experienced increased challenges in recruitment and retention of summer lifeguards. We begin the annual recruitment process as early as February and offer highly competitive pay.  However, only 60% of our positions were filled this summer,” said Pooser.

Pooser continued by stating, “We must follow stringent state safety guidelines that include a 25-to-1 swimmer to lifeguard ratio. Due to attrition and limited availability of lifeguards to work through the remainder of the summer sessions, we are currently unable to safely staff both pools simultaneously.”

The safety of each guest comes first, and Pooser added that the pool hours and days of operation need to be adjusted to ensure that there are enough lifeguards at each facility. In the event that staffing availability changes, then pool hours will be adjusted accordingly.

The Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center (2390 SW 36th Avenue) and the Hampton Aquatic Fun Center (255 NW Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) will alternate operating days and continue to host two sessions per day.

Hampton Aquatic Fun Center
Hampton Aquatic Fun Center
Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center
Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center

Effective beginning on July 12, pool hours of operations will be as follows:

  • Hampton Aquatic Fun Center
    • Wednesday, July 13 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Friday, July 15 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Tuesday, July 19 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Thursday, July 21 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 23 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Wednesday July 27 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Friday, July 29 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 30 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m (if staffing levels meet safety guidelines).
  • Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center
    • Tuesday, July 12 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Thursday, July 14 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 16 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Wednesday, July 20 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Friday, July 22 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Tuesday, July 26 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Thursday, July 28 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 30 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (if staffing levels meet safety guidelines).

Admission per session for a single individual is $2 for anyone ages 17 and under, and $3.50 for adults ages 18 and up.

For more information, visit the City of Ocala Aquatic Fun Centers webpage or call the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5517.