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Is a Summer Lifeguard Job Right for You?


For many people, summer is a time for relaxation and reflection. Students take well-deserved time off after a difficult school year, while many workplaces relax their dress codes and many employees take vacations. As human beings, we’re in love with summer, and everyone knows it, from teachers or managers. Summer is also a great time to gain valuable experience in an important and worthwhile industry. So, rather than take time off in July and August, you might instead contribute your talents to volunteer or help in another way with a worthy cause. Lifeguarding can be difficult, but it can also be immensely rewarding. A summer lifeguard job can be demanding, but the payoff is great.

There are plenty of lifeguard recruitment websites always looking for personnel, too, so this isn’t a career you’ll struggle to get into. With that said, you need to know whether you’re a good fit for the job before you apply. Here are a few factors to consider if you’re looking to become a summer lifeguard.

Swimming Ability

It probably goes without saying but the first skill a lifeguard needs to have is the ability to swim competently. You don’t need to be a master swimmer; you’ll likely never need to use advanced strokes or swim huge distances. So, a basic swimming ability is fine.

With that said, if you struggle while you’re in the water or you never learned, then you might want to take swimming lessons or practice another way before you become a lifeguard. Most places will want proof that you’ve completed an RLSS qualification or similar before they allow you to lifeguard their pools anyway. Thus, you won’t be able to enter this career until you’re a solid swimmer.

Physical Fitness

We’re not talking about cutting back on a few extra meals or beers here and there when we say you need to be physically fit to be a summer lifeguard. You don’t need the body of an Adonis either. No, you won’t have to go to the gym seven times a week. That said, if you’re in extremely poor shape, you might not want to pursue a summer lifeguard job right now.

Although you probably won’t need to swim very far, you’ll still need a basic level of fitness and strength training in case you need to lift people or carry them out of the water. Before you start preparations to be a lifeguard, maybe shed a few extra pounds first.


Once you meet these basic prerequisites, you’ll need to undergo fairly rigorous training if you want a summer lifeguard job. In the UK, the qualification you need to study is the Royal Life Saving Society’s NPLQ (National Pool Lifeguard Qualification).

This course consists of three sections, each of which focuses on a different aspect of lifeguarding. You’ll learn basic CPR, first aid, and health and safety around the swimming pool. This course is practically a requirement for any lifeguarding job, so it pays to take it. You can find centers that offer this course around the UK, so check out this website to find out where you can study it.

Summer Lifeguard Job Duties

Not every second of a lifeguard job is excitement and life-saving danger. In fact, much of your time as a summer lifeguard probably involves basic pool maintenance:

  • Fishing suspicious objects out of the pool
  • Looking for trash
  • Cleaning the area
  • And more

These activities are, of course, all things that need doing, and, in their own way, they contribute to the safety of the pool’s patrons. After all, nobody wants to swim in a pool where something disgusting is floating, right?! Still, you’ll need a stomach for the less savory tasks if you want to be a lifeguard.


As many of these jobs focus largely around summertime, when business massively increases for swimming pools and the like, your career as a lifeguard will be naturally flexible. You won’t always be required there, so those of you who are seeking a more solid and dependable career might want to look elsewhere.

With that said, lifeguarding is an excellent way to gain crucial skills and occupy your time between school terms. So, if you’re looking for part-time work that enriches your life, the flexibility of a summer lifeguard job might be ideal for you.

Final Thoughts

How does this list make you feel? Do you think you’d be a good fit for a summer lifeguard job? Not everyone has what it takes to be a summer lifeguard. You need a solid level of fitness, good swimming ability, and people skills too. After all, nobody wants to swim in a pool where the lifeguard is always looking surly and unapproachable, right? Still, for those people with the right skill set, it’s a rewarding, enjoyable, and fulfilling career. We wish you all the best if this is your chosen path!

16 thoughts on “Is a Summer Lifeguard Job Right for You?”

  1. my daughter was a life guard last summer and said it was an awesome job. as you pointed out, life guards must swim so much/week, attend weekly training sessions and also be certified in CPR and first aid and not mind cleaning up after others. great post!

    1. That’s great to hear your daughter enjoyed her time working as a lifeguard! You ought to be proud of her for the courageous job she did :)

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