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Lifeguard  What They Do

Just the Facts


Supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, or beach.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Security and Protective Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Examines injured persons and administers first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if necessary, using training and medical supplies and equipment.
  • Contacts emergency medical personnel in case of serious injury.
  • Rescues distressed persons, using rescue techniques and equipment.
  • Instructs participants in skiing, swimming, or other recreational activities and provides safety precaution information.
  • Patrols or monitors recreational areas such as trails, slopes, and swimming areas, on foot, in vehicles, or from towers.
  • Completes and maintains records of weather and beach conditions, emergency medical treatments performed, and other relevant incident information.
  • Maintains quality of pool water by testing chemical levels.
  • Warns recreational participants of inclement weather, unsafe areas, or illegal conduct.
  • Observes activities in assigned areas, using binoculars, to detect hazards, disturbances, or safety infractions.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads of more than 50 lbs., sometimes more than 100 lbs. You must be used to very heavy physical exertion on a regular basis.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Seasonal work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Alpine Patroller -- Patrols mountain areas and transports ill or injured guests in rescue toboggans.
  • Boating Safety Officer -- Performs law enforcement, crime prevention, boating safety, and education on the waterways.
  • Health Club Attendant -- Welcomes guests and ensures they have a safe and enjoyable experience; maintains the weight and cardiovascular fitness areas ensuring equipment is clean, functioning properly and used according to the guidelines of the facility.
  • Park Ranger -- Supervises, manages and performs work in the conservation and use of resources in national parks and other federally-managed areas.
  • Recreation Attendant -- Directs people to safely participate in activities.
  • Ski Patrol -- Monitors participants of snow sports, either at a ski area or in a back country setting and work to promote ski safety, enforce area policies, and help injured skiers when necessary.