Summer beachgoers in Vineyard Haven may find no lifeguard on duty this summer at Owen Park and Lake Tashmoo due to a town lifeguard shortage.

To date only one lifeguard has been hired for the season, Tisbury director of public works Ray Tattersall said. Usually the town has four lifeguards and one head lifeguard. Mr. Tattersall said he believes the reason is low pay. The town pays lifeguards $15.20 an hour. In other Island towns the pay starts at $17 an hour, according to spokesmen for other town park departments who report no problems filling positions this year.

Owen Park beach could also have no guards. — Maria Thibodeau

In Tisbury, lifeguard applicants are also required to pay for a $450 certification course at the YMCA before they are eligible for employment.

Mr. Tattersall said only two people have applied since applications opened three months ago.

“The only thing stopping us from getting kids here is the low pay,” he said. “We just can’t get kids to want to do it.”

He said he has safety concerns about swimmers getting caught in the currents at Lake Tashmoo and being swept into Vineyard Sound.

Tisbury selectman and board chairman Tristan Israel said he was unaware of the problem but said the town has had trouble attracting employees in general.

“It’s a challenge we face competing with other towns that have more resources than we do,” he said.

Mr. Tattersall said the town is offering pay increases for returning lifeguards, and new hires won’t have to pay for beach training or equipment. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply on the town website job board.