WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — The town of Westport is in need of more lifeguards before the start of summer.

The town has to replace its entire lifeguard staff since none of them decided to return after the 2022 season.

Town Administrator James Hartnett told 12 News that Westport has received five lifeguard applications so far, most of which are from high school students. He said the beach needs at least six lifeguards to be considered staffed part-time.

A total of nine, including a head lifeguard, would fully staff Cherry & Webb Beach.

Westport Beach Committee member Perry Long said the town isn’t alone in struggle to find qualified summer employees.

Earlier this year, the state of Rhode Island was offering bonuses of up to $1,000 for lifeguard candidates.

Perry said Westport officials are actively seeking qualified candidates for lifeguards, as well as head lifeguard and beach manager.

Just a short walk away, the state-run Horseneck Beach is proving to be stiff competition for Westport. The state is paying $1 more an hour for entry-level lifeguards.

They are also offering a $250 sign-on bonus for those who submit applications by July 1, along with an extra $750 for those who stay through Labor Day.

Long said he hopes the town can work with the state to ensure the entire stretch of beach is properly staffed.

The issue will be discussed again at the Westport Board of Selectmen meeting on June 12.

Westport’s recreation department is spearheading the hiring process.

Anyone interested in applying can visit the town’s website or contact Westport Town Hall at (508) 636-1000.