Lifeguard job description

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Lifeguards, also known as pool attendants or recreation attendants, are employed in local government or private swimming pools often provided as part of health and fitness centres and large hotels. As well as monitoring swimmers and ensuring they are not in difficulty, the pool attendant is usually responsible for associated facilites and the correct and hygienic maintenance of the pool’s water quality. In the case of an accident or emergency, the job holder will rescue the swimmer and apply first aid as necessary. A key task is the enforcement of safety rules in and around the pool.
Key requirements are a good fitness level and stamina, strong swimming ability and a certificate in lifesaving from the Royal Lifesaving Society or other approved organisation as well as a certificate in first aid. Criminal record checks are mandatory as this individual will be working with young children. No educational qualifications are required, but good communications skills and the ability to remain calm and focused in an emergency are important.
Salaries range around the national minimum wage of £5.93 per hour for those aged 21 and over, with an increase to £6.08 due in October 2011.


Lifeguards are required to ensure swimmers safety in inland waterways, sea, or swimming pools. Their duties are related to accident prevention, by identifying dangerous situations, and assistance during emergencies. They need to have a suitable physical condition for this job and sometimes must use inflatable dinghies, jet skies, body boards, and squad bikes to reach people in emergency situations.

Lifeguards usually perform many of the following tasks:
• Demarcating no swim areas.
• Rescuing drowning swimmers.
• Administering basic first aid products for some injuries.
• Providing advice related to safe swimming places.
• Applying resuscitation procedures to people on drowning cases.


• Having good eyesight.
• Having good interpersonal abilities.
• Being able to understand hazards related to sea conditions.
• Being able to work with a team.
• Being tactful with people who are breaking safety rules.
• Having excellent observation skills.
• Being able to stay calm under extreme circumstances.
• Being trustworthy.
• Being a good swimmer.
• Having quick reaction in dangerous situations.


Some basic requirements to be a Lifeguard are being aged over 16, and being a strong swimmer and physically fit for this job. Pool lifeguards require a NaRS Pool Rescue Qualification or a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification as a minimum. These courses require some lifesaving experience and a good standard of swimming.

Beach lifeguards will need a NaRS Beach Lifeguard or RLSS National Beach Lifeguard Qualification. Candidates to these courses will also receive training in the use of some specialist equipment like rescue watercraft, squad bikes and inflatable rescue boats.

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