The role of the lifeguard is to keep people who are in a mass of water, safe from harm. They work at swimming pools, water parks and on the beach in order to keep all the water-loving people safe should something go wrong.
The job entails keeping a sharp eye out in case of any accidents, as well as prewarning anyone doing something dangerous about the potential damage caused by their actions. Ultimately, if the worst comes to the worst, the job means you will have to jump in and save them.
Salary & benefits
Whilst some lifeguards are volunteers, others are paid by their local authority. Salaries for full-time pool lifeguards are between £13,000 and £18,000. Most salaries are paid hourly, however, and the rate ranges from £6.50 an hour to £10.
If you were to move up to a supervisory role, the rate of pay would rise significantly to between £24,000 and £29,000 per year.
If you work full time, you’d be expected to work around 37 hours a week, although this would include weekends, evenings and public holidays. Part-time lifeguards work the hours a week when there is a lack of regular staff to help out.
For both pool and beach lifeguarding you need to be physically fit, and to be a pool lifeguard you will need to gain a Lifeguarding qualification.
This is gained by being able to swim 50 metres in less than a minute, being able to swim 100 metres without stopping, and surface dive to the lowest point of the pool. Being a beach lifeguard needs a slightly more rigorous test, including treading water for two minutes.
Training & progression
Once on a lifeguard course, the theoretical side of the role is discussed in great detail, covering personal fitness, rescue, first aid, CPR and lifesaving skills.
Once this is complete, the next step is to work towards a pool management position, for which there is an NPMQ qualification.