Lifeguarding in USA

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I was working as a lifeguard in Noah’s Ark Waterpark for the summer 2014. At the beginning of the summer I promised to write about requirements and our job. So finally, here is some information what is required and what are your options as a guard. At first I want to note that the swimming test is done during the first day of training but every other test are done after good three day training were everything essential will be taught. The requirements I have wrote are based on the test that Ellis and Associates used for our licensing in Noah’s 2014.

Test for guards:


  • written (multiple-choice) exam about working as a lifeguard. For this you really need to understand advanced English and be awake during training!
  • practical exams (saves from water individually and with a group (basic saves, spinals for back injured, unconscious person) + cpr and first aid)

Only shallow:

  • swim 50 yards (45 meters) (no time limit, you can use what ever style you want)
  • “dive” (it’s more pick up than a dive, in my opinion) tile from 5 ft (1.5 meters) deep water

Only special facilities (deep):

  • swim 200 yards (183 meters), time limited to 4 minutes, you’re allowed to swim front crawl or breaststroke or combination of these
  • dive tile from 11 ft (3.4 meters) deep water
  • Tread water for 2 minutes, using only your legs. Your hands and head have to be above the surface all the time.

Shallow guard vs Deep guard


+ You can talk with people a lot

+ You will get good exercise because you will run huge amount of stairs everyday

+ You can use shoes if you want to

– You might have to run in crazy places, jump over fences (it’s kind of cool but in my opinion, however it’s a bit scary and hurts your feet sometimes)


+ You can do all almost all the spots in the park (there some spots for controllers those are usually either deep or shallow guards who have some work experience and have got a promotion or they have just asked manager if they can be controllers)

+ You will save more people than shallows (I felt my work very important because of really saving people’s lives but I think that shallows are like preventing accidents and have very important work too!)

+ You can sit down in some spots

+ Generally you have more breaks than shallows

+/- more hours

– If there is nobody in the pool you still have to scan your water and it’s sometimes boring and might feel stupid (but actually you’re making sure that if someone goes to the water nothing bad happens)

– Usually you do not speak to customers very much (I love speaking, so for me this is con but some people love this fact)

IMG_0114 kopio lifeguardshavingfun

Lifeguard on duty and lifeguards having fun! 🙂

I was deep and I loved it even though I was sure I’ll be shallow. One of the managers asked me to try deeps diving test. I thought I won’t pass it but irrespective of the half feet sub I ate just before test I made it. Thus I believe you can pass it to, especially if you have motivation and basic swimming skills! 🙂

And remember that even thought there are big responsibilities and exams there are also great coworkers and a lot of fun. Work hard play hard.

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