Be a Lifesaver

Would You Like to Be a Lifesaver?

Are you the type of person who has always felt the need to help others?

Are you an outdoorsy person who enjoys spending time on the beach or at the pool?

Are you fit, energetic and sporty?

Do you have good reflexes and a keen intuition?

If you have answered yes to many of these questions, then you already show a natural inclination to be a great Lifeguard/Lifesaver.

Yes, you just might have the makings of being a Guardian of the Beach, Rescuer to many and Big Brother to all. You can be a Lifesaver if you really want to and help rescue those in need. A Lifesaving qualification is open to everyone, irrespective of age, gender, ethnic/cultural background and you don’t need to be a champion swimmer to be one, all you have to know is how to swim.

Micro - Nippers
Micro Nipper groups are available at many clubs around the country, these groups are aimed at the those younger than 8. 

Nippers are the members between 8 and 14 year old. Various progams are run by the clubs focussing on fun and skills development.

The Lifeguard
The professional Lifeguard is a highly trained, fit athlete, responsible for defining a safe bathing area, rescuing people in distress and applying first aid, if necessary. He or she is on duty during all weather conditions, and may be required to do foot patrols along beaches, be part of a motorized patrol or rescue boat crew, or be involved in helicopter rescues.  Other responsibilities may include maintaining discipline on the beaches and enforcing bye-laws in their respective areas.

What do I need to be a Lifeguard?
You will need: good powers of concentration; to be a good swimmer; to enjoy the outdoor life; communications skills; good eyesight; the ability to remain calm under pressure. Public relations skills are also an essential attribute.

What are the Entry Requirements and Training?
You must be 14 years or older.

Specific academic requirements are not essential, though some employers require them. Most employers insist on the Lifeguard Awards for pools or the beaches.  Lifesaving South Africa encourages all employers of professional lifeguards to insist on at least one of the necessary qualifications mentioned above.

Lifesaving South Africa sets the examinations and outcomes required to qualify beach and pool lifeguards.

Professional lifeguards are constantly in training, prior to and often after their duty periods. Certain tests have to be taken regularly to ensure their fitness and capabilities.

What are the Employment Prospects?
Employment opportunities exist with local councils of towns with public beaches and community swimming pools.  There are also a few private lifesaving organizations that offer employment on a temporary and permanent basis. International job opportunities exist.

What are the Lifesaving Qualifications?
A lifesaving qualification is referred to as a ‘Lifeguard Award’.  There are many lifeguard awards that qualify you as a Lifeguard and they start at a Junior level and progress up to a Senior level.

Are there any Exams involved?
From the age of 8 there are age appropriate skills levels which are assessed in house by qualified examiners and assessors. 

A Junior (14 and 15 years) Lifeguard must be able to swim 400m in a pool in less than 9 minutes to pass the entrance test.

The Senior Lifeguard (16 years or older) must be able to swim 400m in less than 8 minutes.

The candidate is then trained to become a fully qualified lifeguard and requires a far more extensive knowledge and physical ability in order to pass the exam.

The job requires a good knowledge of first aid, CPR and all lifesaving problems encountered on a beach, dam or pool.  Due to the physical nature of the job the candidate must demonstrate a superior aquatic ability, being able to perform rescues using various items of equipment, as well as doing actual contact rescues.

Training for the exam varies with different candidates’ abilities, but can be achieved more promptly if the candidates are available throughout the week, instead of only attending classes on a part-time basis in the evenings.