This is my fifth summer working as a lifeguard, and honestly, I love my job. It is a good job to work while trying to pay for school, my car, etc. And, my co-workers are amazing. But, as I have been working, I keep hearing the same thing, and I'm honestly sick of it. So many people, including some of my family members, have said that my job is easy; that all I have to do is sit there. That could not be further from the truth. I work very hard, and I'm here to tell everyone what else we do besides "sit there"
1. Trainings/ In-services
At my facility, we have in-service trainings every other week to go over rescue techniques and rules of the beach. A lot of facilities do this, and it can be really time consuming, but helps us with our job.
It may not seem like we have to "set up" or "take down" the beach or pools, but we have to ensure that we have all of the proper safety equipment out and get everything ready for the day. And then we have to clean it all up at night.
3. Test the water
At pools, for most facilities, lifeguards are in charge of testing the chlorine and pH levels of the pool. This has to be done a certain number of times per day, so we do it all of the time. If chlorine levels were too low, I've had to put chlorine in the pool. At my facility, it was required for us to go to a training about chemicals and working with them.
4. Dead fish
If there are dead fish that wash up on the beach, then we have to clean it up and dispose of it. It's disgusting and it smells awful. All in part of cleaning.
We have to make sure everything is clean. We walk around the beach and pick up trash, empty the trash, clean the pools, clean our facilities/break room, and the bathrooms...
Bathrooms have their own category. We have to make sure it's clean, which usually means there's mopping involved. We clean the toilets, and sometimes, poop off of the floor (it has happened to me more than once). We also have to replenish toilet paper, paper towels, and garbage cans in there.
7. Swim Lessons
Sometimes, lifeguards have to do double duty and teach swim lessons as well. Teaching a group of kids how to swim and paying attention to them isn't the easiest job in the world, especially when they get distracted and distract each other.
8. Deal with Disrespectful People
People don't like to be told when they're doing something wrong. There are general rules that while, a person can stand outside of the swim area, we can't have other people see them, and go out there just in case they start drowning. So the rules are enforced for everyone. This gets people angry, and they act disrespectfully towards us. We're, unfortunately, way too used to it.
9. Enforce the Rules
The primary reason that people are so disrespectful towards us is because we enforce the rules. We have rules to keep people safe, and we need to enforce them because it is our job. It is one of our primary responsibilities, and we could get fired if we don't, so we're literally just doing our job.
10. Keep People Safe
Believe it or not, our job is to keep people safe. So while we are just "sitting there", we are watching the water for anyone who may go into harms way. We go through certifications and trainings so that we can properly rescue someone.
So there it is, ten things that we do besides sit there. My job is an actual job, and it's not an easy one. I hope that those reading realize that it isn't a job where we just sit there.