Summer’s not far off, and some of Maine’s state parks are still short on lifeguards.

The state Bureau of Parks and Lands needs to fill 13 of the 47 lifeguard positions at several waterfront parks.

The vacancies are at Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Sebago Lake State Park in Casco, Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, Reid State Park in Georgetown, Damariscotta Lake State Park in Jefferson, Mount Blue State Park in Weld, Range Pond State Park in Poland Spring, and Swan Lake State Park in Swanville.

Brian Murray coordinates training for the lifeguards and helps parks find them. Murray, who’s also the manager of Popham Beach State Park, said the jobs used to draw many applications but it has been harder to fill positions in recent years.

“I am concerned because every year it seems to be a little more of a struggle,” he said.

The state parks’ season for lifeguards starts June 12 and runs through Aug. 27. Applicants must be certified to be lifeguards. Each one must pass a cardiovascular fitness test — swimming 500 meters within 10 minutes and running a mile and a half in 12 — and get additional training geared toward ocean or lake locations.

The pay scale starts at $10.43 an hour. The eighth step on the pay scale is $13.42 an hour, but it takes well over eight seasons for someone to reach that step, because the season lasts only 11 weeks.

The state’s vacancies don’t appear to be part of a widespread shortage of lifeguards. There was a shortage at the height of the last economic boom, but that isn’t the case in the current economy, said Tom Gill, a spokesman for the United States Lifesaving Association.

Gill said occasional shortages may be related to low population.

“I haven’t heard of any problems in a nationwide scale. Regionally, locally — I don’t know,” he said.

Bruce Farnham, manager of Mount Blue State Park, agrees that population and geography play big roles. He has only one applicant for his two positions.

“We keep looking,” Farnham said. “We have had years where we didn’t have a second lifeguard (on the start date), but generally somebody comes through in the end.”

In the past, when the park has been short, visitors have been notified when no lifeguard is on duty.

Crescent Beach State Park has filled three of its six positions. Manager John Polackwich is hopeful that he will be able to hire three lifeguards from the half-dozen applications he has received.

“In other parks, I know they’re short,” he said. “I have a big work force to draw from” in Greater Portland, he said.

The coastal towns of Ogunquit and York are all set for lifeguards this season. Wells, which generally hires 20 to 23 lifeguards, will have enough if all of its applicants meet its requirements: a certification card, a two-mile run, a 500-yard swim and a successful retrieval of a rescue mannequin from the bottom of a 15-foot-deep pool.

Wells lifeguards are paid $9 an hour.

“We have the bare minimum,” Fire Chief Dan Moore said of the number of applicants. “We’re still accepting some applications. As of right now, if everybody who applies passes the entrance test we do, we would have enough.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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