Lifeguard Responsibilities

Most lifeguard responsibilities are common sense and you’ll already know a lot of them intuitively.  Listed below are some characteristics you’ll need to develop and maintain in order to meet the demands of being a lifeguard.  Any job where your primary focus is to protect and save lives will naturally come with many responsibilities.

Must be Knowledgeable

  • Have the required (3) certifications and skills.
  • Be familiar with safety risks and rules for the water environment.
    • At a pool, these can included enforcing rules about diving in shallow part of the pool or no running on wet, slippery surfaces.
    • At a beach, these could include an awareness of rip tides, knowing the changes in tide level, recognizing unsafe areas (maybe sharp rock or coral formations), and being alert for dangerous animals like jellyfish or even sharks.
  • Maintain your certifications.
    • The lifeguarding certification is active for 3 years.
    • The CPR/AED and first aid trainings are only valid for 1 year.

Must be Healthy

  • Maintain a certain level of fitness because the nature of the job requires strength and endurance.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated to be alert (and not pass out on duty…).
  • Do not drink excessively.  Being hung-over on duty is obviously not a good combination with a lifeguard’s working conditions and expectations.
  • Take care of yourself in general – get enough sleep, use sunscreen, etc.  If you’re not feeling your best, you won’t be able to perform at your highest potential in an emergency.

Must be Professional

  • Stay attentive during duty, always scanning the area.  Patron surveillance is the greatest of lifeguard responsibilities.
  • Keep conversations with others short so that they don’t interrupt the observation of your area.
  • Keep rescue supplies and equipment handy in case of emergency.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for work (maybe a uniform) and be neatly groomed.
  • Only eat or use your cell phone during breaks.

Must be Reliable

  • Get to work on time.
  • Follow the rules at all times and enforce them consistently among patrons.
  • Act appropriately under pressure.

Must be Mature and Polite

  • Always be courteous when interacting with patrons and never argue with them.
  • Remember that being a lifeguard is a leadership position and little kids will be looking up to you.
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