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Lifeguards on duty

Three local lakes have lifeguards on duty to watch swimmers this summer as they enjoy some fun in the sun.

Wildcat, Horseshoe and Buck lakes have lifeguards on watch from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Lifeguards started the season on Memorial Day weekend and will watch over swimmers until Labor Day weekend.

“It’s one of the best summer jobs a high school or college student can get,” said lifeguard Kallie Rooks, 19, as she watched kids frolic in the water at Wildcat Lake on Wednesday.

Hired by Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, lifeguards must have current American Red Cross lifeguard training, preferably waterfront lifeguard training. The training includes CPR and First-Aid. During the season there are always three lifeguards on duty, an overall supervisor, a head guard and two guards who work in different shifts.

“Each summer there is always a balance of new lifeguards and returning lifeguards,” said Toni Fuller, lifeguard program coordinator for Kitsap County Parks and Recreation.

Rooks has been with the local lifeguard program for about a month and a half, but is planning to leave on Aug. 10 to study abroad in Sweden. She will be a sophomore this fall at Central Washington University and majors in tourism management and Spanish.

“I’m hoping to get credit for this for school, but I have to talk to one of the advisors at Central first,” she said.

Rooks attended Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor and is from Port Orchard. She usually works at Horseshoe Lake which is a shorter drive from Port Orchard than to Wildcat Lake in Seabeck.

“I love the water and I’ve been swimming my whole life. I first took lessons at age 3,” Rooks said.

The lifeguards’ hours are based around their schedules. It fluctuates due to college schedules or travel plans, but for the most part the lifeguards work about 20 hours a week.

“The (lifeguard program) is seasonal which is nice because they know you are going to leave,” Rooks said. “I plan on coming back next summer.”

Since the season started Memorial Day weekend there have been more rescues at Wildcat than at the other two lakes.

Wildcat has a bigger drop off, Horseshoe Lake is pretty shallow with no big drop-offs, Rooks explained.

In the off-season and after hours when there are no lifeguards on duty, Kitsap County Parks and Recreation is sure to post “No lifeguard” warning signs to warn people that they are swimming at their own risk.

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