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4 Surprising Qualifications of Ocean Lifeguards

Since before the days of “Baywatch,” lifeguards have been idolized by the masses. They are incredibly fit, tan, and attractive individuals available to save your life if necessary. It’s no wonder people have been fake drowning in the hope of getting a rescue. But are lifeguards really just summer beach bums looking for a little extra pay? The reality is, the process for becoming an ocean lifeguard is incredibly intense for most areas.

From their training to specialized gear, lifeguards are clearly prepared for almost anything while on the clock. Many ocean lifeguards take their jobs very seriously and pursue them as a career, staying with one beach for 10, 20, or 30 years! Contrary to former misconceptions about lifeguards, they are not all 20-somethings looking to pick up a date at the beach. Included here are a few things to know about ocean lifeguards.


Aside from just being allowed in the deep end, lifeguards must pass rigorous training exercises and certification programs to work on the beach. Normal lifeguard certification is required, as well as First Responder first aid and CPR/AED training. While not required, many lifeguards are also Emergency Medical Technicians, certified in SCUBA, and some even have the license to pilot a boat!


Regardless of your length of time on the job or previous experience, all lifeguards must train rigorously on a daily basis to stay in optimal physical shape. Everyday lifeguards are swimming, paddling, rowing, running, and rescuing in order to ensure their own safety as well as the general public’s. Training drills, focusing on physical fitness, are run twice a month to ensure all lifeguards are up to snuff.

For lifeguards certified by the United States Lifesaving Association, a twice annual test must be administered where they are timed both on running and swimming. In addition to fitness, they must also be competent in the use of a wide range of equipment. Use of rigid hull inflatable rescue boats, all terrain vehicles, and personal watercraft must be practiced by all lifeguards.


Within every lifeguard tower, you will have supplies to aid in the resuscitation or stabilization of a rescued person. Backboards, oxygen, defibrillators, first aid supplies, resuscitation equipment, as well as paddle tubes and boards will be on hand to help with rescue endeavors. As with all other requirements, lifeguards must have comprehensive knowledge of how to utilize these tools within their life-saving missions on the beach.

Getting a Job
If you feel the career of lifeguard may be right for you, it may be time to pursue the application process. Most lifeguard businesses will require physical fitness tryouts before you are eligible to begin training and be hired. Ensuring you can pass all of the above tests beforehand will improve your potential of being hired.