Tips on How to Become a Coastal Lifeguard

Lifeguard Times™ UK Correspondent

Ocean Rescue PhotoWater is the natural life giver, as without it, there would be no life on earth as we know it today. Our planet needs water to thrive, as do we, yet as essential as water is, it can also be potentially deadly. The UK for example, has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire world, and although we generally aren’t recognised for having a tropical climate, during the summer months, beaches all across the country get swamped by holidaymakers, tourists, and people just generally looking to have a fun time. Not only that, but we also have a number of swimming baths, leisure centres, and other locations with stretches of open water that could potentially land people in serious trouble. If we were to get into trouble in the water, whether by the sea, in a swimming pool, or anywhere else for that matter, we would need lifeguards watching out for us, as they could quite literally be the difference between life and death. If you yourself wish to make a difference and become a lifeguard, it certainly isn’t as easy as the guys and gals on Baywatch used to make it look. Here are a few handy tips on becoming a coastal lifeguard.

HandstandImprove your physical fitness – Becoming a lifeguard will require you to be incredibly physically fit, as the job itself is very physically challenging. Whilst swimming in water is a very tough form of cardiovascular exercise, if you factor in the fact that you may have to swim in the water, and drag another human being to safety, before then treating them, you get an idea of why it is so important to be so physically fit. A general rule of thumb for lifeguards is what is known as the 10/20 rule. This basically refers to the fact that lifeguards, upon spotting a potential problem, should be able to get to respond to the problem in 10 seconds, and reach the person in trouble in 20 seconds. Obviously then, you will need to be incredibly fit and very well-conditioned from a cardiovascular perspective.

Receive your necessary qualifications – Another absolute necessity for any potential lifeguard, is ensuring that you take the time to get properly qualified so that you are able to legally become a lifeguard. Without a qualification, you won’t be able to legally apply for, or find, work, so it is vital. There are numerous courses and classes available that offer various lifeguard qualifications, so whether you choose to do one online in your spare time, or if you choose to embark on a one week intensive course, you will easily be able to gain the qualifications required.

Improve your swimming and your water experience – Becoming a lifeguard requires so much more than just the ability to swim well. You will need to be an incredibly great swimmer, you will need to become experienced both in the sea, and in swimming pools, and you will need to have great knowledge of the sea, and indeed, of the area you plan on working in. Not only will you need to be a great swimmer, you should also have a great knowledge of the sea, of the coast, of the area in general, and indeed, of various tide times, and other factors that could influence how dangerous the sea is.


Get used to using a rescue board – A rescue board is arguably a lifeguard’s most valuable piece of kit, so you will need to get used to using yours in all kinds of conditions. Although obviously, beaches will be busier in the summer when it is hot and relatively calm, people could still get into trouble in bad weather, in the winter, and in all kinds of conditions, so practice using your board in rough conditions. Even though you may be a great swimmer, you will still be required to be able to take your rescue board out through tough surf and in testing conditions, so you may wish to practice with a dummy, or even with a fellow lifeguard.

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