How do I Become a Beach Lifeguard?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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When people flock to the beach to enjoy the sun and surf, a beach lifeguard is responsible for keeping them safe. The ocean can be a dangerous place with rip tides, dangerous marine life, and crashing waves. It's the beach lifeguard's job to ensure that people safely enjoy their time in and around the water. Since this type of job is a demanding one, an applicant must meet certain standards before being allowed to become a beach lifeguard.

Anyone who wishes to become a beach lifeguard is required to meet the requirements established by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA). This organization was established to ensure the well being of those who work and play in and around the water. One of the first requirements applicants must meet is the ability to swim quickly across short distances. For example, people who want to become beach lifeguards must first possess the ability to swim 550 yards (500 m) in no more than ten minutes.

A potential beach lifeguard must not only be a strong swimmer, he or she must also have the physical stamina to perform this important job. Physical responsibilities include the ability to quickly run long distances and lift, drag, or pull heavy objects. Beach lifeguards must possess excellent vision and hearing as well. These two qualities are important because lifeguards need to be able to see and hear any sign that swimmers may be in distress.


Anyone who wishes to become a beach lifeguard is required to successfully complete training in first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Those chosen for further training will also learn how to save people in open water and the proper use of water rescue equipment.

Aspiring beach lifeguards who wish to improve their chances of being accepted as a lifeguard can take steps to improve their physical fitness and swimming ability. For example, they can strive to eat a healthier diet. A balanced diet will enhance the body's performance and perhaps help an applicant do well on a physical fitness test.

Another way to train for a beach lifeguard test is to practice swimming in the ocean, becoming comfortable with open water and the skills needed to swim safely within it. Using kickboards and pull buoys in the local swimming pool can help build upper body and leg strength, another way to enhance swimming skills. Swimming timed sprints in the swimming pool can also help beach lifeguard applicants improve their ability to swim short distances quickly. It is no simple task to become a beach lifeguard, but those who are determined to enter this demanding field can accomplish their goals through hard work and dedication.


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