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Hiring a Lifeguard: Job Description Template

By Priya Jain


How do you craft an enticing Lifeguard job description that draws in the best candidates? Hiring the right lifeguards is a critical task, as they are the frontline defenders of aquatic safety.

Whether you’re a seasoned Facility Manager looking to refine your hiring practices or a new water-based establishment preparing to bring on your first Lifeguard, understanding the key components of this hiring process is essential for ensuring a safe and successful operation.

In this article, we help you create an outstanding Lifeguard job description that attracts top talent and explore the steps for hiring the best candidate for your business.

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Responsibilities & Role of a Lifeguard

The roles and responsibilities of a Lifeguard are critical to ensuring the safety of individuals in aquatic facilities. When hiring a Lifeguard, it’s essential to clearly outline their duties to ensure they understand and fulfill their role effectively. Here is a comprehensive list of roles and responsibilities for a Lifeguard:

  • Surveillance: Lifeguards maintain constant vigilance over the pool or waterfront area, scanning the water and surrounding areas for signs of distress or unsafe behavior. Their keen observation skills are essential for early detection and rapid response to potential emergencies.
  • Prevention: Enforcing safety rules and regulations is crucial for preventing accidents and maintaining a safe environment. Lifeguards should diplomatically educate patrons about the rules, intervene when necessary, and take proactive measures to reduce risks.
  • Water Rescue: Lifeguards are trained to perform a variety of water rescues, from reaching out with pool poles or reaching aids to quickly entering the water for more complex rescues.
  • First Aid: Besides water rescues, Lifeguards must be proficient in administering first aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), which can be lifesaving in emergencies. Their quick and effective response can stabilize individuals until professional medical help arrives.
  • Emergency Response: Lifeguards remain calm under pressure and act swiftly in emergencies, whether rescuing a struggling swimmer or providing immediate assistance in an injury or medical incident.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Regular checks and maintenance of safety equipment are essential to ensure it functions correctly when needed. Lifeguards must be diligent in this regard to guarantee the availability of critical rescue tools.
  • Crowd Control: Maintaining an appropriate crowd density and addressing unruly behavior is essential for preventing accidents and ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment for all patrons.
  • Weather Monitoring: Lifeguards should be aware of changing weather conditions, be prepared to clear the pool or waterfront, and take shelter as necessary to protect patrons from lightning, storms, or other weather-related risks.

How to Hire a Lifeguard

Hiring a Lifeguard is a paramount task when it comes to maintaining a safe and enjoyable aquatic environment. Here are the key steps and considerations to help you successfully hire a Lifeguard who will excel in their role and contribute to the safety and satisfaction of your facility’s patrons:

1. Know Your Lifeguard Requirements

Before you commence the Lifeguard hiring process, it’s crucial to gain a clear understanding of your facility’s unique requirements. To assess your needs effectively, consider posing the following questions:

  • What are the primary safety challenges or opportunities your facility aims to address with lifeguarding services?
  • Are you looking to enhance swimmer safety, prevent accidents, maintain order, or achieve specific safety-related goals?
  • Which water rescue and first aid techniques are essential for your facility, and should the Lifeguards be proficient in them?
  • Do you require expertise in specific water safety protocols, such as those related to aquatic facilities, waterfronts, or specialized programs?
  • Is familiarity with specific aquatic activities or programs, such as swim lessons or water fitness classes, necessary for your facility?
  • Are there specific safety equipment and tools (e.g., rescue tubes, AEDs) that the Lifeguards should be trained to use?
  • What are the Lifeguards’ expected duties and responsibilities, and what are the desired safety outcomes for your facility?

You can establish the foundation for a successful Lifeguard hiring process by thoroughly assessing your facility’s needs. This initial step sets the stage for crafting an accurate Lifeguard job description, determining the number of Lifeguards required, and ensuring the safety and well-being of your facility’s patrons.

2. Search for the Top Talent

Finding top talent involves a strategic and multifaceted approach. Here are some steps to help you search for and attract the best candidates:

  • Specialized Aquatic Job Boards: Websites dedicated to aquatic and lifeguarding jobs, such as the Association of Aquatic Professionals, World Aquaculture Society, or SwimSwam, are valuable resources for finding lifeguards interested in aquatic careers. Use our Lifeguard job description to create a compelling job that attracts the most qualified and experienced Lifeguards.
  • Educational Institutions: Partner with schools, colleges, and universities that offer Lifeguard training programs. They often have job placement services or can recommend qualified students.
  • Professional Associations: Connect with Lifeguard and aquatic professional associations, such as the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), World Waterpark Association (WWA), or the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). These organizations often have job boards and networking opportunities.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Consider partnering with staffing agencies or recruitment firms specializing in aquatic or sports-related positions. You can use the services of Pool Professionals or BlueGuard, as they can help you identify and vet potential candidates.
  • Local Aquatic Facilities: Contact nearby aquatic facilities, pools, and water parks to inquire if they have lifeguards seeking additional employment or seasonal work.

3. Look for Educational Qualifications

While Lifeguards primarily require practical training and certification in water rescue and first aid, certain educational qualifications can enhance their suitability for the position. Here are some educational qualifications to consider:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Most Lifeguards should have a high school diploma or equivalent. This demonstrates basic educational attainment and essential skills like reading, writing, and communication.
  • CPR and First Aid Certification: Although not strictly educational qualifications, Lifeguards should hold valid certifications in CPR and First Aid.
  • Lifeguard Certification: Lifeguards should have completed certification programs accredited by reputable organizations such as the American Lifeguard Association (ALA) or the Red Cross. These courses cover water rescue techniques, water safety, and other essential lifeguarding skills.
  • Water Safety Instructor Certification: Some Lifeguards may also hold Water Safety Instructors (WSIs) certifications. This qualification is beneficial if your facility offers swimming lessons and the Lifeguard may be responsible for teaching them.
  • Additional Training and Courses: Look for candidates who have pursued additional relevant training or courses, such as Lifeguard management, or aquatics management. These can demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development.
  • AED Certification: Some facilities may prefer certified lifeguards in Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use, as these devices can be critical in cardiac emergencies.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

When evaluating a Lifeguard candidate’s work experience, it is crucial to consider the nature and depth of their roles.

Assess their years of experience, the type of facilities where they have worked (e.g., swimming pools, waterfronts), and specific responsibilities (including water rescues, rule enforcement, first aid administration, and emergency coordination)

Prefer candidates with supervisory or leadership roles, specialized skills (such as swim instruction), and a track record in handling emergencies and providing excellent customer service

5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process

Here’s a strategic and thorough approach to interviewing Lifeguard candidates, ensuring that you select individuals who are not only highly skilled but also dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of patrons in your aquatic facility:

  • In-Person Interview: During this interview, assess their interpersonal skills, professionalism, and enthusiasm for the position. Ask behavioral questions to evaluate their past experiences and decision-making abilities in lifeguarding scenarios.
  • Situational-Based Questions: Pose hypothetical lifeguarding scenarios and ask candidates various situational-based questions and how they would respond. Assess their problem-solving skills, communication abilities, and understanding of safety protocols.
  • Emergency Response Knowledge: Assess their knowledge of first aid and CPR procedures by asking specific questions about these lifesaving techniques. Ensure they are up-to-date with the latest guidelines.
  • Facility-Specific Questions: Tailor some questions to your specific facility and safety protocols. For example, if your facility has unique features like water slides or diving boards, ask how candidates would monitor and ensure safety in these areas.

6. Cross-Verify Their References

Cross-verifying the candidates’ references is a crucial step to ensure their work history’s accuracy and gain insights into their reliability and performance. Contacting the provided references allows you to confirm details about their lifeguarding experience, professionalism, teamwork, and adherence to safety protocols.

We recommend asking the following questions when contacting the references: 

  • Can you describe the Lifeguard candidate’s proficiency in water rescue techniques, first aid, and CPR? Have they demonstrated strong swimming abilities and effective lifeguarding skills in previous roles?
  • How reliable was the candidate in terms of punctuality and adherence to lifeguarding schedules and safety protocols? Did they work well as part of a lifeguard team, effectively communicating with colleagues and enforcing facility rules to maintain a safe environment?
  • Could you share instances where the Lifeguard candidate displayed exceptional commitment to safety, including their interactions with patrons? How did they handle challenging situations, such as rule violations or distressed swimmers, while maintaining a professional and reassuring demeanor?

These questions aim to gather insights into the Lifeguard candidate’s technical skills, reliability, teamwork, and dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of patrons in an aquatic environment, helping you make an informed hiring decision.

Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process

Hiring Lifeguards is a critical process that requires diligence and attention to detail to ensure the safety of pool or waterfront patrons. To avoid red flags during the hiring process for a Lifeguard, consider the following tips:

  • Physical Fitness Test: Administer a physical fitness test to assess candidates’ physical readiness for Lifeguard duties, including swimming proficiency, endurance, and strength. Red flags may include the inability to meet basic physical requirements.
  • Availability and Punctuality: Ensure candidates are available to work during the required hours and are punctual. Lifeguards must be reliable and show up on time for their shifts.
  • Limited Swimming Skills: Lifeguards should be strong swimmers with excellent endurance. Inadequate swimming skills or confidence in the water is a major concern.
  • Reluctance to Enforce Rules: Lifeguards must be willing and able to enforce facility rules, even if it means confronting patrons. Candidates who express reluctance to do so may not be suitable for the role.
  • Failure to Report Incidents: Lifeguards should have a strong sense of responsibility and report incidents or unsafe conditions immediately. Candidates who downplay the importance of reporting may not prioritize safety.

A new hire's first day checklist

Lifeguard Job Description

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Job Title: Lifeguard

Location: [Specify the location of the aquatic facility]

Job Type: [Full Time / Part Time / Seasonal]

Salary: [Salary / Competitive / DOE]

About Us:

[Provide a brief overview of your aquatic facility, its commitment to safety, and the environment.]

The Opportunity: 

We are currently seeking dedicated Lifeguards to join our team and play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of our patrons in and around the water. As a Lifeguard, you will be responsible for maintaining a vigilant watch over swimmers and responding swiftly to emergencies. Your role is essential in creating a safe and enjoyable aquatic environment.

What You’ll Do:

  • Monitor swimmers and guests to prevent accidents and enforce safety rules and regulations.
  • Perform rescues and provide water-based first aid as needed.
  • Assist in the implementation of emergency procedures, including evacuations and closures.
  • Conduct regular inspections of the pool area and equipment to ensure safety and compliance.
  • Offer assistance and information to pool visitors in a friendly and professional manner.
  • Maintain a positive and welcoming atmosphere while promoting water safety.

What You’ll Bring:

  • Current Lifeguard certification from a recognized organization (e.g., American Red Cross).
  • Current CPR and First Aid certifications.
  • Strong swimming skills and physical fitness.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to stay alert and focused during assigned shifts.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • CPR and First Aid certifications.
  • Previous experience as a Lifeguard is advantageous but not required.
  • Commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable aquatic experience for all visitors.
  • Ability to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as lifeguard uniforms and rescue equipment.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive compensation based on experience and qualifications.
  • Opportunities for professional growth within our aquatic team.
  • Supportive and collaborative work environment.
  • Ongoing training and skill development to enhance your lifeguarding abilities.
  • Exposure to a diverse range of aquatic activities and challenges.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates are invited to submit their resume along with a cover letter highlighting their relevant skills and experiences to [email address] with the subject line “Application for Lifeguard Position – [Your Name].”

[Your Aquatic Facility Name] is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or other protected status. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Thank you for considering a lifeguarding career with [Your Aquatic Facility Name].

Note: Customize this template to align with your aquatic facility’s specific needs and the Lifeguard role you intend to fill.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lifeguard?

The cost of hiring a Lifeguard can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the location, the specific requirements of the job, the Lifeguard’s experience and certifications, and whether the Lifeguard is employed on a full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary basis. 

Here are some cost considerations to keep in mind when hiring a lifeguard:

Recruitment Cost

These costs encompass various expenditures and investments in finding the right candidates for job openings. Understanding and managing recruitment costs is essential for organizations to optimize their hiring processes and budgets effectively. Here are key aspects to consider:

  • Specialized Aquatic Job Boards: Most of these job boards charge a fixed fee for posting jobs on their platform and accessing their databases. The Association of Aquatic Professionals charges a fee of $75 for a 30-day job posting, whereas the World Aquaculture Society is free for employers. Additionally, SwimSwam charges a fee of $125 per job posting. 
  • Professional Associations: To join any professional association, you must pay an annual membership fee. For instance, the membership of USLA starts at $30 per year, whereas NRPA charges a fee of $470 for a standard membership. Additionally, WWA charges an annual fee of $499 for waterpark owners.

Salary and Benefits

Salary and benefits costs are significant components of an organization’s overall expenditure. The salary component includes the base compensation paid to employees, which varies by role, experience, and location. 

The average salary of a Lifeguard is $36,544 per year, which includes $1,930 per year of additional pay. This additional pay includes incentives, bonuses, and increments. 

Benefits costs encompass various perks, such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and bonuses. Additionally, benefits can vary widely, with some organizations offering comprehensive packages, while others provide more limited options. 

Properly managing salary and benefits costs ensures that employees are adequately rewarded while maintaining the organization’s financial health.

Uniform and Equipment

Lifeguard uniforms typically include swimsuits, shirts, and hats bearing the facility’s logo or designation. Additionally, Lifeguards require essential equipment such as whistles, rescue tubes, life jackets, first aid kits, and backboards. 

These uniforms and equipment must meet safety and regulatory standards and must be replaced periodically due to wear and tear. 

Facility managers must budget for the initial purchase of uniforms and equipment and ongoing maintenance and replacement costs to ensure that Lifeguards are properly outfitted and equipped to perform their critical safety duties effectively.

Training and Certification

If Lifeguards are not already certified, the cost of Lifeguard training and certification courses, which often include CPR and first aid training, must be covered. For instance, the cost of CPR certification starts at $70, whereas the cost of first-aid training starts at $70. 

Priya Jain

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