New bill could allow 15-year-olds to be lifeguards

New bill could allow 15-year-olds to be lifeguards

A new bill could allow 15-year-olds to become certified lifeguards.

The committee on workforce development, military affairs and senior issues held a public hearing to discuss the lifeguard shortage throughout the state.

Right now, 16 is the minimum age for lifeguards in Wisconsin.

Samantha Fiscus with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, says the low number of lifeguards has caused problems.

“This puts a great deal of pressure on the operator from both the upper management to the general public to keep unstaffed pools and attractions open,” Fiscus said. “Unfortunately this has led to drownings and near drowning investigations and numerous inspection violations throughout the state. As a result, the lack of lifeguards or attendant staffing is putting the public at risk of injury or drowning.”

Fiscus said she conducted 18 investigations for death, drownings and near drownings last year in Wisconsin.