Most times swimming pools offer a fun and relaxed environment. However, sometimes you may run into a disruptive guest. As a lifeguard, it’s your job to properly and safely handle these situations. What is a disruptive guest? A disruptive guest is anyone who doesn’t follow pool rules, makes the pool unsafe, makes pool guests uncomfortable, or ruins others’ pool enjoyment. Examples of disruptive guests include people who are running, shouting, intoxicated, or arguing loudly amongst themselves. When these guests begin to cause trouble while you’re on duty, it’s your job as a lifeguard to step in and diffuse the situation.
1) Don’t Allow Other Guests to Get Involved
Sometimes other guests may want to step in and help. Don’t let them! Instead, ask guests to refrain from getting involved with the disruptive guest. These situations can escalate and possibly become unsafe. This is why only you and other lifeguard staff should work to remedy these situations.
2) Make Sure You Have Backup
Before engaging with a disruptive guest, make sure that other staff on your team are aware of the situation. A pool attendant or supervisor can step in to keep other guests away from the area. They also should remain alert in case you need help alleviating the situation.
3) Stay Calm!
No matter what, STAY CALM! It’s important to keep your composure and remain professional even if the disruptive guest’s behavior escalates. Asses the situation, and try to understand why the guest is upset. Did another guest upset them? Do they disagree with the pool rules? Are they intoxicated? After you assess the situation, make the decision to address it then and there, or have the guest removed from the property.
4) Keep Your Distance
Throughout the incident, remain non-confrontational. This includes keeping your distance. Be sure not to invade the guest’s personal space. Getting too close may only add fuel to the fire and make the situation worse. Give the guest and yourself enough distance to remain safe.
5) Call the Police (If Necessary)/ Submit Reports
Sometimes you will not be able to handle a disruptive guest on your own, and may have to call the proper authorities if the situation gets out of hand. Call the police if the situation continues to escalate to the point of potentially compromising the safety of yourself, other guests, or even the disruptive guest. Call 911 to report the incident, and let the police handle the situation from that point on. You will then need to submit an incident report to your supervisor.
Lifeguarding is a fun job! However, every once in a while, you’ll have to deal with some not-so-fun guests. Make sure you’re properly and professionally addressing the situation keeping the safety of all parties in mind. Confronting these guests may be uncomfortable, but it’s important to remember that you’re the authoritative figure at your pool, and you’re there to ensure guests’ safety. You’ve got this! Contact your local office for specific protocols on handling and reporting these types of incidents.