Being a lifeguard at times is a simple job, but it’s also a potentially very stressful one. In truth, the possibility of having someone’s life in your hands can be terrifying.
If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to actually save someone’s life. The best lifeguards don’t save drowning victims, they prevent them from drowning in the first place.
Whether you are at the pool or the beach, sight is your first line of prevention. To be an effective lifeguard you need to be vigilant. You should develop a style of scanning the area, whether it’s side to side or top to bottom, it’s crucial to always be on the look out for potential dangers or victims.
It shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to complete a full scan of the area. There can be a lot of pretty people on the beach, but never let your eyes linger in one spot too long.
Change your body position
Don’t sit in a chair all day, you need to stay alert. Every now and then you should stand from your seat or walk around the pool. This isn’t meant to be a break, you’re always scanning, it’s just to help your body and mind stay alert.
There’s no real way to know who might get in trouble just by looking at them, however you can identify and keep someone in your mind as a potential drowning victim.
For example, if you see a child without a parent supervising them, it might be best to either speak with the child to find out where the parents are or keep scanning back to the child to ensure their safety. Again, you don’t need to fixate on the individual, just make mental notes of them in your scans.
You should be aware of your surroundings and the condition of the water at all times. You have the lifeguard whistle, don’t be afraid to use it. You need to be in control.
If you see someone who looks like a new or weak swimmer and the water that day is particularly rough, you should speak with that person and make sure they know.
If you see some people horsing around at the pool, stop them immediately. Don’t worry about people thinking about you. The last thing you want to do, is actually save someone from drowning.
When in doubt, GO!
If you aren’t sure if someone needs help, go help them. If you see something that makes you uncomfortable, go address the situation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.