Lifeguard Tips

Read these 7 Lifeguard Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Swim tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Will I have to save a lot of people as a lifeguard?

You Rule the Pool

Life guarding is all about keeping people safe and preventing the need for more drastic lifesaving measures. You'll know how to do everything, and that is what you'll be paid for.

The better you help swimmers understand how to swim and play safely, the less likely you will be to have to jump into the water and pull someone out.

   
What type of suit do I wear as a lifegurad?

Look the Part

Where do you get your lifeguard swim suit and what kind do buy? If your place of work does not bring in a swim suit salesperson to give the lifeguards sample suits to try on, be sure to ask what type of suit is acceptable before heading to your local sporting goods store to buy one.

You will be wearing your lifeguard swim suit for at least eight hours each day, so pick the most comfortable suit. Generally two-piece suits, if allowed by your employer, are the most comfortable. Many are reversible, in which case they have covered elastic edges and are even more comfortable than most two-piece suits.

   
Where can I get my lifeguard certification?

School in the Summer?

• How do I get certified to become a lifeguard?
• How long is the class?
• What will I have to be able to do?

First, go to the American Red Cross website and look up where and when the classes in your area are held. Most classes are the equivalent of forty hours. Some are offered five days in a row for eight hours a day, others may span several weeks, a couple of nights a week or on the weekend. Choose the class that best fits your schedule.

Read the requirements for passing each class, detailed on the American Red Cross website. You will be certified in CPR and first aid for the professional rescuer as part of your life guarding course. In the life guarding class you will need to be able to perform several types of saves on a distressed swimmer, active drowner, passive drowner, submerged victim, and spinal victim. And, you will learn how to use a backboard and rescue tube.

   
Can I be a lifeguard?

Red Cross Rules!

Are you at least sixteen years old and a good swimmer? Do you like being outdoors? Do you like helping others? Then being a lifeguard is the perfect job for you. Most lifeguard jobs are available in the summer when the beaches and pools are full. And, you could find an indoor job at a health club or hotel if you don't like being in the sun.

In order to become a lifeguard, you need to take a lifeguard certification class, given by the American Red Cross. Locations and times of the classes can be found on their website. You have to be fifteen years old to take the class, sixteen years old to lifeguard at a pool, and seventeen years old to lifeguard at an ocean beach or lake with an extra waterfront certification.

   
Where should I get a lifeguard swim suit?

Look the Best

The best brands of lifeguard gear are Finals, TYR, and Speedo. Nike makes a great two-piece red suit on which you could sew or iron your own lifeguard decal, available at many diving stores and on the internet.

Speedo runs small, and the hips are more high-cut than other suits. Lifeguard swim suits are also available at swimming brand name websites.

   
Is there a big difference between lifeguarding at a lake and lifeguarding at a pool?

Sink or Swim

If you plan to work at a lake or ocean, you will need to take a waterfront life guarding class, which is much shorter and valid for life, in addition to the regular lifeguard certification class.

In the waterfront class you will learn to use a rescue board, rescue kayak, and practice entering the water from the shores edge, a chair, and a deep dock. Your regular lifeguard certification will have to be renewed every three years; CPR needs to be renewed every year.

   
Where should I lifeguard?

It's Your Job

Find lifeguard jobs in your area!

• Call your town or local recreation departments.
• Contact a YMCA near you.
• If there are any private health or pool clubs in their area, search them out.
• If you like working with others, go for a local beach or lake.
• There are more lifeguards on duty at larger places at any one time.

If you work for a town or recreation department, you will most likely be paid more than at a private pool or club. Lifeguarding jobs at private pools or clubs are usually easier and have shorter hours however. You know what situation you work best in. Find that and show off your skills, let the manager there know how much you want to help keep people safe.

   
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Linda Handiak