After Bangor’s Dakin Pool closed earlier this summer due to a lack of lifeguards while the city’s other pool was open on a full schedule, the tables have turned for Bangor’s two municipal pools in the last week of the season.
The Beth Pancoe Aquatic Center’s pool will close for the summer on Friday, after the majority of the city’s lifeguards leave for school, according to the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department.
Then, the Dakin Pool will be open from 1 to 4:30 p.m from Aug. 20-26 and 6 to 7:30 p.m. from Aug. 22-26. The Dakin Pool will then close for the summer after Aug. 26.
Bangor Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Deb Gendreau said the Dakin Pool is expanding its hours and staying open a week later than the Pancoe pool because the department will have only four to five lifeguards beginning next week, which is enough to open the Dakin Pool safely but not both pools.
The Pancoe pool, with a capacity of 350, requires 10 lifeguards to open safely whereas the Dakin Pool, with a 150-swimmer capacity, only requires three, Gendreau said.
At the peak of the summer, Gendreau said the parks and recreation department employed about 20 lifeguards — enough to open the Panoe Pool full time and the Dakin Pool in the evenings. The workforce was not large enough to also open the Dakin Pool during the day or offer swimming lessons at either pool, however.
Most of the city’s lifeguards are leaving because they’re high school students who have pre-season sports practices beginning next week, or college students returning to campus, Gendreau said.
In late June, the city closed the Dakin Pool entirely so it could have enough lifeguards to open the Pancoe pool full-time, but opened the Dakin Pool in the evenings in early July after area residents urged the city to find a way to open both pools.
Despite the difficulty in finding enough lifeguards to open both pools on a consistent schedule, Gendreau said she’s hopeful next summer will be smoother because most of the lifeguards the city hired this summer are younger.
Should they return to the Parks and Recreation Department next summer, the robust workforce would allow the city to open both pools full-time and offer swimming lessons at the beginning of the summer.