Life Guard


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Nature or RecreationHelping or advisingSkill Level 1

Lifeguards look after the safety of people at beaches or swimming pools through public relations, public education, accident prevention and rescue.

Lifeguards look after the safety of people in aquatic environments, such as beaches, swimming pools and some amusement parks. Lifeguards perform a variety of roles in addition to providing rescue Future Growth Very Strong services to swimmers in danger. They may also take part in programs to educate the public in water safety, identify potential hazards and take appropriate action to minimise the danger, care for lost children and maintain the condition of rescue equipment.

ANZSCO description: 452414: Looks after the safety of people at beaches or
swimming pools through accident prevention and rescue, and educating the public on water safety. This occupation requires high levels of physical fitness, sporting ability and personal commitment as well as, or in place of, formal qualifications or experience. Registration or licensing is required.

Alternative names: Lifesaver, Pool Attendant, Lifeguard,

Specialisations: Pool Lifeguard, Surf Lifeguard

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A lifeguard needs:

  • a high level of physical fitness

  • to be able to work well in a team environment

  • to enjoy working outdoors

  • to be able to remain calm in an emergency situation

  • to be observant, and able to identify risks and hazards in and around the water.

Duties and Tasks

Lifeguards may perform the following tasks: Lifeguard

  • supervise swimmers and bathers to prevent accidents and make sure they follow safety regulations
  • rescue swimmers in difficulty and provide first aid treatment if required
  • educate the community on water safety
  • place signs or barriers to warn of dangerous conditions or areas, and make sure users are aware of potential dangers
  • caution people behaving in an unsafe manner and expel those who refuse to cooperate
  • report incidents to management or other authorities
  • design and implement emergency procedures
  • undertake basic water quality control and testing procedures
  • maintain rescue equipment
  • care for lost children
  • perform basic administrative duties such as writing reports.

Working conditions

Most lifeguards work outdoors, in all weather conditions, ranging from extremely hot conditions to cold and windy. Some pool lifeguards work at indoor pools, where it can become very humid. Lifeguards generally work long hours, which includes early mornings, evenings and weekends, and especially during peak seasons, such as the Christmas holidays.

Tools and technologies

All lifeguards, regardless of where they are working, make use of general first aid equipment and wear easily identifiable uniforms (though pool lifeguard uniforms vary between individual venues). Lifeguards working outdoors also require appropriate protection from the sun, such as hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.

When carrying out general maintenance duties, pool lifeguards use water-testing equipment, lane ropes and cleaning equipment. Some surf lifeguards use specialised vehicles to assist in patrolling beaches and carrying out rescues - these include, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), surf-skis and small power boats. They also use the distinctive red and yellow flags to mark out areas of water that are safe to swim in, and two-way radios to keep in contact with other lifeguards.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a lifeguard you need to obtain special certifications from the relevant body.

To become a pool lifeguard you need to complete a Pool Lifeguard certificate issued by the Royal Life Saving Society – in each State and Territory of Australia, and hold a current Bronze Medallion Certificate.

To become an ocean lifeguard you need to hold a current Bronze Medallion, and complete courses in Provide Advanced Resuscitation Techniques, Provide Emergency Care for Suspected Spinal Injury, Basic Beach Management (Silver Medallion). You will also need to have a current driver’s licence (provisional or higher). You may also require a motorised rescue craft licence.

Ocean lifeguards require this additional training in order to be able to deal with the unique challenges posed by working in a dynamic and changing ocean environment. Ocean lifeguards also require a high level of physical fitness and are required to undertake a fitness assessment.

Employment Opportunities

Pool lifeguards are employed by local councils or by private commercial pool owners. Indoor facilities and some councils retain people all year round, but there are more opportunities for outdoor pool and beach work during the warmer months, or casual work during school holidays and on weekends. Ocean lifeguards are employed by seaside councils or private commercial contractors such as Surf Life Saving and Lifeguarding Services Australia.



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