Lifeguarding: More Than Just a Job

It is not unusual to think of lifeguarding as an easy job; lots of people’s first jobs were lifeguarding. In the movies, lifeguarding is portrayed as being fun, relaxing, and even sexy.

However, in reality, lifeguarding is a rigorous and demanding responsibility. Yes, responsibility.

It is crucial to understand that lifeguarding is not just any job that you, one day, decide to do; people are trusting you with their lives, and you have to be attentive and ready for anything at any time. Furthermore, as important as it is to act quickly in any given situation, lifeguards have to be cautious and vigilant. No two situations are alike.

If you want to lifeguard this summer, it is important you start training and preparing now. You must be at least 15 years old by the time you complete the 21-40 hour certification classes. It is important to have basic swimming and water skills because you must be able to swim 200-400 yards constantly, tread water (only using your legs) for two minutes, and grab a 10 lbs brick from the 8-12 feet below the water with a feet-first surface dive and then swimming 20 yards holding the brick above water.

During the course, you will learn CPR, first aid, and AED (automated external defibrillator) training. You will also cover different types of rescues, emergencies, scenarios, and injuries. You will have to pass both a physical and written test at the end of your course. The written test is pretty straightforward and simply wants you to prove your understanding of medical procedures, how to respond to certain situations, and appropriate behavior as well as responsibilities of a lifeguard. As for the physical test, you will be challenged with a staged emergency that needs to be fully and accurately completed in 1 minute and 40 seconds.

Yes, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming a lifeguard, but it is all necessary.

Though it is a cool job to have, it is a very serious one too, especially if you are working as a beach lifeguard. In addition for being responsible for the safety of swimmers, there are so many other requirements and variables that go into being a beach guard. Unlike a pool, the beach is uncontrollable and unpredictable. Furthermore, every beach is different. The ocean is the home to many animals, small and large, that can harm any swimmer, powerful waves and currents can cause many injuries and even deaths, and also simply being in the salt water is dehydrating and potentially fatal.

At Dana Hall, there is a spring lifeguarding course offered, where you can get trained and certified. It will count as a Tri III sport and you can even work at Dana Hall after the course. If you are interested in taking this course or having any further questions, email Laura Rizzo, the
new aquatic director, at

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