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What does it take to become a lifeguard, plus rolling tips

Updated on December 1, 2015

From an Ex. Lifeguard

When I was a Lifeguard My days were more excited, more full of joy and happiness, for once, I was doing something challenging yet powerful, I had lives to save and not everybody can say that.

In this post, I will pass to you some tips I learned during my time as a Lifeguard, and talk about what does everyone need to have, in order to become a Lifeguard.

So, are you physically and mentally ready to be a Lifeguard? If so, carry on, get knowledge, start here and never quit getting that knowledge, and once you do, always try to improve it, until you are that man or woman full of wisdom.


A Lifeguard is someone who knows how to swim, rescue drowning people, knows how to perform CPR, and how to act in emergency cases, who gives the hand to swimmer and beach attendants, by showing them what not to do in most cases, what is dangerous, what is prohibited, and stuff of general rules. especially in pools which I will include in a separate chapter.

You need a certificate to prove that you are Lifeguard, in order to work in swimming pools or beach as a Lifeguard.

How you get your certificate? Is by taking the tests that red cross or fire fighters promotes in every summer beginning or at every day of a year depending on your state/Country.

Lifeguard Requirements

Swimming Pool:

- You have to be physically fit and not having any injuries or medical problem (Doctor certificate approval)

- You have to cross 50 meters in the pool in at least 1 min.- You have to cross at least 20 meters underwater.

- You have to throw a buoy at least 15 meters near the victim.- You have to pass the CPR test (after taking a course of several hours).

- You have to be able to swim 20 meters towards the mannequin (60KG/ 130lb) at the bottom of the pool, and dive for it and get it up to surface, and swim 20 meters back.

- Finally but not least, you have to swim at least 500 meters freestyle (in my time Civil defense carried us on zodiac about 800 meters to 1 Km or so, and told us to get to shore)

Tip: (if you would like to swim fast under water you have to get to the bottom of the pool, this way you will be much faster).

What to do when you spot a drowning Victim

When you see a drowning victim may be screaming, waving, floating unconscious, or even staying underneath the water still without any move, it is the time called "Call of Help".

As a Lifeguard you have to act quick and alert your co-Lifeguard by yelling something like (I will get this one) so he knows you are in the water in case of an emergency he will be there to give you a hand, either by calling the emergency department or jump in with you, in both cases you have a "WIN WIN" Situation.

Once you jump in the water you have to focus only on the drowning victim, swim towards the victim in steady moves as fast as you can, but without losing it all because when you get there you got to have some energy left for you, otherwise you will be hopeless just like the victim.

Tip: Sometimes you have to use your mind before using your heart.

Once you are in Water near to the victim

With Flotation Device

The first thing you have to do, is to get close enough to the victim and hand the flotation device, whether it is the Ring buoy or the Banana type... or the Rescue Can, while you hold the end of the rope or the shoulder strap if the buoy has it.

Once the victim catches the flotation device, start swimming back to shore and engage with him in conversations and encourage him by saying e.g. (I know you can do it) (Ice cream is waiting for us) stuff like this so he will focus in what you are saying, and forget the situation he's in, and also you will boost his confidence which will show on him by putting more effort to get out.

Teach your kids swimming with these Buoys - read the reviews of parents Like you

A Demonstration Rescue Without a Buoy

Once you are in Water near to the victim

Without Flotation Device

Once you get to the victim always come from behind, so even if he struggles and hit, it will do you no harm because you are not facing him.

Take your left hand and slide it down his left armpit and with same hand grab and lift his chin up (like a pro) or just grab his chest (Look at the picture), once you perform that move he can breath and eventually he will stop resisting and yelling and kicking, then with your right hand and legs swim back towards safety whether it is the edge of the pool or shore.

Note: feel free to change from right to left, about me as a right handed person it is easy to grab the victim from my left hand so i swim better with my right.

What is your favorite place to swim?

See results

Submit your question - I will be glad to answer them

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    • aminebombom profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      I'm on it, Thank you very much for your support, I hope I can serve you back in the near future.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      3 years ago from USA

      Yes. Google uses grammar and spelling as part of its ranking algorithm, so it is best to proofread every time you write.

    • aminebombom profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      @timetraveler2 thanks for the tip, I didn't know it mattered that much, I thought it was a plus, but since you said it, I will correct the capitalization as soon as I can.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      3 years ago from USA

      This is a nice article, but you have several grammar and structure mistakes in it. For example, the letter I is always did not capitalize it even once when you wrote this. This is one of the most common English usage items any writer should know.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      I'm not certain I'd make a good lifeguard, but I do respect the job lifeguards do. It can't be easy keeping an eye on a pool full of people and recognizing when the horseplay is serious trouble. Great hub.

    • aminebombom profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      @tazzytamar: i couldn't agreed more, thanks for stopping by

    • tazzytamar profile image


      4 years ago from chichester

      This was so interesting - I know a few people who really want to become life guards and several are doing training at the moment. Great job, very meaningful!

    • soniabaad lm profile image

      soniabaad lm 

      4 years ago

      Such an interesting read. It must definitely be a tough job. Isn't it?

    • aminebombom profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      @flinnie lm: you are welcome

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      4 years ago from Alabama USA

      I learn a lot about been a lifeguard. Thanks for sharing.

    • aminebombom profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      @Charito1962: thank you, for stopping by, and for your encouraging comment :)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Interesting lens! Now, I know how valuable a lifeguard is!


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