As Jobs Dry Up, Wannabe Lifeguards Head to Surf City

California's unemployed turn to jobs once held by teens
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2009 10:33 AM CST
As Jobs Dry Up, Wannabe Lifeguards Head to Surf City
A ship and an offshore drilling rig are seen in the background as beachgoers cavort July 20, 2008, in Huntington Beach, Calif.   (AP Photo)

Huntington Beach, Calif., might be more famous for hosting surfing competitions, but the crowds lined up on the sand yesterday were there looking for work, reports the Los Angeles Times. The economic downturn has buoyed interest in $16-per-hour lifeguard positions, summer jobs once dominated by bronzed teenagers and college students.

This year, 156 applicants swam and sprinted in a race for 25 jobs, more than doubling last year’s number of lifeguard wannabes. Some were the usual college swimmers and out-of-work surfers, but this group also included a retired Olympian, a former mechanic, and an Air Force underwater-search specialist. Says the Olympian: “They might have youth, but I have experience.” (More lifeguard stories.)

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