THE severe shortage of lifeguards and lack of adequate infrastructure to protect beachgoers, forced the interior ministry to announce on Wednesday the recruitment of 48 seasonal lifeguards, while another 53 will be recruited by the local authorities in Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Sotira.
“Significant aid to the lifeguards’ work is also coming from the €200,000 funding by the ministry in 2017, for the purchase of equipment, three jet skis, boards and other equipment needed to ensure that all lifeguard towers are fully staffed,” interior minister Constantinos Petrides said.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Petrides said that improvements had also been made to the overtime procedures and explained that on some particularly busy beaches, the working hours will be extended until 7pm.
“By the beginning of July, the total number of lifeguards will reach 217, the largest number of lifeguards ever in Cyprus,” he noted.
A report prepared by the interior ministry earlier this year said that beaches needed an estimated 300 lifeguards on duty, but at the time there were only 140.
In March lifeguards had threatened to go on strike unless the government responded to their demands for more staff and improvements to outdated equipment.