MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – With the first day of summer upon us, Marquette’s beaches are open, but may not be guarded.

Lifeguards are in short supply this summer. Head lifeguard Claire Markey says she will only be staffing McCarty’s Cove on a daily basis, with lifeguards at Tourist Park working only part of the time. This leaves South Beach, Picnic Rocks, Middle Bay, and Clark Lambros beaches with no lifeguards this year.

Markey says she only has 1/3 of the lifeguards needed to fully staff all of our beaches, which puts greater responsibility on the individual to be safe in the water. She says pay attention to possible weather changes, observe posted flags and how to react to the different colors and the conditions they represent.

Why the shortage? Markey says COVID had a role, as well as the serious demands of the job.

“The training is not easy, and it’s not something that anybody can do,” said Markey. “So, you have to know how to swim. You have to be confident in your ability to save lives and just a lot of people, you know, some people just aren’t up for it. So, finding people who are confident in their skills like that is also a challenge.”

If no flag is flying that means there is no lifeguard on duty. McCarty’s cove will remain guarded this summer until September 5.