This blog is being written for those lifeguards who think the job is about getting the perfect tan or meeting the hottest guy/chick on the job. If that is the only reason you signed up for this job, then you need to quit now and save us all the trouble before you cost the life of a swimmer. If you think the job is boring, quit now! If you are in it just for the pay, quit now! If you don’t have a passion for the job, please quit now! If not all you are doing is bringing bad publicity to an already suffering industry with a bad image problem.
Did we get your attention? Are you offended? Good!
Year after year we talk to many lifeguards and those interested in becoming lifeguards. Many seem to think this job is nothing more than being a glorified babysitter or about blowing a whistle and telling kids not to run. Truth be told the job is much more than that and is serious business. The job of lifeguard requires a person who is passionate about making a difference and about public safety. This is a job for those who truly care about the impact they could make. This job requires a person who is focused and not easily distracted. This job requires a high degree of maturity and responsibility. Too many seem to think that the job is sitting in a chair all day long and doing nothing. Actually, this job is about saving lives when that moment arrives. It requires a lifeguard to be proactive and to respond to any emergency or situation that may present itself. This job could mean the difference between life or death for someone.
In recent years’ lifeguards, all over the United States have been placed under tremendous amounts of scrutiny especially by attorneys seeking to go after negligent lifeguards. There is also the emergence of those who have lost loved ones to drowning under the watch of lifeguards calling for more oversight, better training and some are calling on criminal charges to be filed on lifeguards who allow a drowning on their watch. This will only get worse as more and more stories continue to emerge of lifeguards not performing their duties such as the recent drowning case involving Rosario Gomez out of Chicago. Now is the time for lifeguards to step up their game and to take the job seriously. If not, there will certainly be more stories and cases of lifeguards being criminally charged with negligence if it is discovered that the lifeguard failed to act.
We have noticed that within the last five years the quality of lifeguards and lifeguard candidates has seriously deteriorated substantially. This is especially true among pool lifeguards and to be quite honest we are very concerned. We have observed that many lifeguards and lifeguard candidates do not see the job as important as say for example the job of firefighting. Many will remember shows such as Baywatch or the recent theatrical release of Baywatch starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) which portrayed the job in a horrible fashion. While those shows are great for entertainment, they do not put lifeguards in the best light and so the perception is that they are young sex-crazed party animals. That seems to be fixated into the minds of lifeguard candidates and the challenge is to get them to see the job for what it is.
The bottom line is that unless a person takes the job seriously and it becomes a passion, nothing will change. Drownings will continue to rise under the watch of lifeguards as long as they have this “cake job” attitude. Let this be a call to action and we are seeking those willing to raise the bar and to set an example for others.
We will admit that we have met some amazing lifeguards over the years who definitely have a passion for the job and those are the very ones we seek to join Golden State Lifeguards. Not all are bad but the good ones are definitely hard to find!