What It's Really Like To Be A Lifeguard

What It's Really Like To Be A Lifeguard

Having the lifeguarding title comes with only perks.

I have been Red Cross Certified in lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and First Aid since my junior year in high school. I have worked on and off ever since at private pool parties, camps, and private pools ever since. It might look like a simple task, however, it's a very tedious job. One needs to be alert and active at all times on the pool deck.

Being a lifeguard comes with a lot of responsibilities. At the end of the day, having this under my belt really captures my character and the kind of person I am. On the other hand, being a lifeguard entails a great amount of reliability and stress at times. Although extremely rewarding, the lives of these infants, children, and adults are in your hands. What a scary thought!

I have worked at Driftwood Day Camp, a camp on Long Island, for the past three summers. I know many think the job is easy: "Watching the pool is so easy, anyone can do it" or "why do you need to be certified for this" is all I hear from whispers on the pool deck. It's the exact opposite, unfortunately. How would you feel if you were the reason for a child's death?

Not too great, right? That's a lifeguard's worst nightmare. This is why we take our job extremely seriously, and can't interact with anyone but the pedestrians utilizing the pool.

Waking up every morning at 7:00 a.m. was a struggle, as we had to be there by 8:00 a.m. every morning. It was a very long day at Driftwood. Starting at 9:00 a.m., I wouldn't get home to nearly 5:00 p.m., and on good days it would be 4:30 pm. It's a very long but worthwhile day.

As well as being a lifeguard for this amazing camp, I was also a swim instructor. At this day camp, like many others, the instructional swim is in the morning for all ages and free swim is in the afternoon after the camp eats lunch. I would say the mix between these parts of the day was a happy medium. I worked with ages as young as four years old to as old as 12-year-old boys and girls. The age difference was very interesting, as I learned how to teach both young and older ages. It was very fun having the opportunity to experience teaching both of these ages.

All in all, being a lifeguard and having these responsibilities can be very difficult at times. It's always important to ask questions if you are not certain about doing something correctly. You don't want to regret something you could have done to prevent an injury or life-threatening condition.

To be completely honest, lifeguarding has changed my life for the better. I have so much more respect as I aged over the past few years and experienced things the normal person would not have. This specific job entails a lot, however, it's always very rewarding to know that you're the individual who can save someone's life.

I am getting re-certified this summer in both lifeguarding and CPR/AED and First Aid and can't wait to hopefully get a job at the gym facilities at the University of Delaware this fall!

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

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