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Staffing shortage could force temporary closure of lifeguard towers on Oahu

Honolulu Ocean Safety said it plans to close one to two towers each day.
Honolulu Ocean Safety said it plans to close one to two towers each day.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:59 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 9:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Ocean Safety said it may have to temporarily shut down lifeguard towers due to a current staffing shortage.

Officials said the issue stems from an increase in daytime coverage following an order issued in 2019, which requires Oahu lifeguards to be on duty from dawn to dusk.

In addition to longer hours, Ocean Safety said its staff is has also been spread thin as eight mobile response units were dispatched every day throughout the summer to help patrol beaches.

With 41 lifeguard towers around Oahu, Ocean Safety said it will try to limit closures to beaches that aren’t as busy and said it plans to close one to two towers each day.

Officials said mobile lifeguard units on all-terrain vehicles and in trucks will patrol beaches where towers are closed.

However, the city advised the public to visit beaches where lifeguards are stationed at towers from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Ocean Safety said it is planning for its next tryout and recruit class after it saw the largest turnout for potential lifeguards in 2020.

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