Sun Splash fills lifeguard positions
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at the end of its hiring process for this season, which includes close to 50 lifeguards to monitor the park during regular hours.
“We are getting a few more people in here to be adequately staffed,” Senior Guard Coordinator Madison Fletcher said of the last of the classes.
The park, which recently re-ceived a 5-star safety rating from Starfish Aquatics Institute, starts its hiring process in January, so staff can conduct its first lifeguard class at the end of February.
She said at the beginning it’s difficult to fill the roster because of weeding people out that do not meet the requirements of the swim and lifeguard test. Once they hit their groove and more applications are submitted, it becomes easier, Fletcher said.
The position is open to those 16 years of age and older and begins with an individual submitting an application online. Fletcher said once officials receive the application, they call the applicant for a swim test, followed by taking a lifeguard class and an interview.
The swim test, Fletcher said, includes a 100-yard swim, which includes both a sprint and underwater portion, a two-minute brick tread. She said that requires the applicant to swim to the bottom of the pool and retrieve a 10-pound brick while treading water for 2 minutes.
The lifeguard class, which is held at Sun Splash, is three days long. Potential lifeguards learn something as simple as putting on a bandage to helping someone unresponsive in the water.
The roster includes both high school and college-aged lifeguards. On any given day, the park has 23 lifeguards on the schedule to keep everything open and running.
“We definitely have the staff available for us,” Fletcher said.
To remain certified as a lifeguard, staffers have to maintain at least four hours of in-service every month. She said part of those hours are accumulated during the 30 minutes of practice before the park opens every day. Fletcher said they practice all lifeguard skills ranging from active and unconscious rescues to CPR.
“It’s anything they come across in a day,” she said.
The Starfish Aquatics Institute’s 5-star rating is the highest rating it can receive for aquatic safety and lifeguard performances.
“We have a really good staff,” Fletcher said.
She said they are audited a couple times a year, all unannounced.
“I’m super proud of all the lifeguards. They always do a great job and continue to impress me,” Fletcher said.
This is Fletcher’s ninth season working at Sun Splash.
“It’s been a really good job,” she said of working at the park throughout high school and college when she was going through nursing school. “I enjoy working with the kids. I see them grow and develop through the job.”
In addition to all of the park amenities, Sun Splash also offers swimming lessons throughout the summer for youngsters from 6 months to 15 years old. Fletcher said they work on such techniques as getting the younger kids faces in the water, as well as water safety – swimming with a buddy or throwing in a towel or ring buoy.
As the skills develop, the classes focus on strokes and swimming techniques.
“They are pretty much full every session,” she said of the eight-week Saturday and two-week Monday through Thursday sessions.
The classes are taught at the Sun Splash pools before the park opens at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“The pools are cleared of those kids before we open the park,” Fletcher said.
Sun Splash is now open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit sunsplashwaterpark.com. It is located at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.