Lifeguard Duties

Lifeguard Duties: Primary Duty

The primary responsibility of a lifeguard is to protect lives by using his or her skills to prevent injury among patrons.  This duty doesn’t only include rescuing drowning victims or administering CPR and first aid.  Being alert and proactive also helps to prevent dangerous situations from ever occurring in the first place.

A lifeguard spends a major portion of his or her shift performing “patron surveillance” or keeping a watchful eye over the crowd.  Other responsibilities should not interfere when a lifeguard is doing this primary duty.

Lifeguard Duties: Other Major Duties

  • Enforcing the rules fairly and consistently is a close second major duty and could even be considered to be a part of patron surveillance.  Help the patrons to keep themselves safe by monitoring and putting an end to dangerous behaviors.  These can include running on slippery surfaces or roughhousing around the pool area.
  • Paperwork can also be an important duty for lifeguards at times.  Completing and submitting reports about incidents is essential to prevent lawsuits about negligence or improper care.  For example, there are laws that require an on-guard lifeguard to act in an emergency situation and if the lifeguard fails to act, this is considered negligence.  But a patron also has the right to refuse care and a situation where this occurs must be documented to keep all parties involved legally protected.
  • Depending on where you work, you might be required to complete some maintenance and cleaning tasks as part of your lifeguard duties.  These can include monitoring chemical levels in the pool, picking up trash and organizing equipment, or inspecting the facility for unsafe conditions.
  • If your place of employment has the programs, you might also be obligated to attend an orientation session when you are hired as well as in-service training programs periodically to refresh skills and knowledge.
  • Lifeguards are also considered to be customer service representatives in some cases.  Especially if you work in an area like a waterpark or resort, patrons might often ask you for directions or recommendations about other attractions.  A lifeguard must learn to balance short interactions with guests while at the same time performing his or her primary duty of patron surveillance.  Sometimes people just like to make small talk and don’t realize how much concentration is required in lifeguarding.  It’s the job of the lifeguard to remain both polite and helpful while staying alert.
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