Fun In The Sun: What It Takes To Be A Lifeguard

When summer approaches, it's time to hit the pool or the water park. As you're swimming and enjoying your day, remember that there is always someone in the background watching over you and helping to keep you safe while you're splashing in the water. The job of a lifeguard is very important, and sometimes overlooked, but their job and the things they do can often help mean the difference between life and death. If you are interested in becoming a lifeguard, here's some things you need to know.

Swim Training 

Of course, lifeguards must be apt and avid swimmers. They should be able to swim a pre-determined number of laps within a specific time frame in order to prove they have stamina in the water. A test commonly known as the "brick test" is often required as well. This test requires the potential lifeguard to be able to retrieve a heavy brick (usually about ten pounds) from a depth of at least eight feet. They must also be able to prove they can tread water for at least a full minute or more without using their arms. All of these skills are essential to prove that the lifeguard will be capable of performing a potential swimmer rescue.


Aside from swimming skills, a lifeguard must have CPR certification. Most community centers as well as the local Red Cross offer these classes for a nominal fee or even free of charge. CPR classes typically only last for a few hours or one full day, and then a certification card is administered. Knowing how to give CPR to someone is absolutely crucial to being a lifeguard. This method is used quite often in cases of potential drownings and other water related incidents.

Duties of a Lifeguard

Being a lifeguard is more than just sitting in a chair and watching people swim. Here's some duties that a lifeguard is expected to perform:

  • Constant alertness and monitoring of patrons swimming in the pool
  • Awareness of surroundings, and the ability to easily spot when someone is in distress
  • Enforcing safety rules such as no running near the pool or careless behavior
  • Maintaining cleanliness around the pool and helping remove objects in order to prevent trip hazards
  • Ability to work well with other lifeguards and perform as a team
  • Having a positive attitude with a desire to help others
  • Reporting all injuries and incidents and submitting them daily
  • Testing the water and submitting findings to the pool or water park supervisor