Lifeguarding isn’t all about sitting under an umbrella, twirling your whistle and yelling at kids not to run on the pool deck (but we can dream!) It takes a lot of concentration, hard work, and maybe the occasional slice of pizza. So, when people think it looks so easy, here’s what we’re not telling them.
Our Eyes are on the Pool
If we’re not looking at you when we’re talking, it’s because our job is to watch the pool, not to chit chat with guests. We’re more than happy to answer your questions when the pool isn’t so busy!
The Pool is Not a Daycare
Parenting is a 24/7 job, and the pool might not be the right place to take time off. We get that everyone wants to let their hair down here, but parents and guardians are still our first defense in protecting their children. Think about it this way: No one ever really wants to use a lifeguard, but we’re here because it’s necessary.
Parenting and lifeguarding is a symbiotic relationship; we need you, and vice-versa. We’re constantly searching the pool for potential hazards and save scenarios. We’re responsible for an entire zone of protection, not just two or three kids at a time.
It’s much easier for us to do our job if parents pay close attention to their kids. If you have children who aren’t swimming on their own yet, equip them with a U.S. Coast Guard Approved flotation and stick to them like glue. Every lifeguard has a story of saving a small child from falling (or worse) because a parent was chatting with a friend or staring at their phone.
And, please, if you have a baby or toddler, bring your own swim diapers. This shouldn’t need an explanation. Let’s keep the pool safe, fun and clean for everyone!
Don’t Trust Your Kid’s Water Wings
Water wings, which are NOT U.S. Coast Guard Approved, are ridiculously deceiving. After all, it floats so it works, right? Not exactly. Water wings and other non-approved devices don’t offer enough support, and might slip off a child’s arms easily. If they deflate, they’re completely useless. There’s no substitute for good old-fashioned adult supervision, even when approved flotation devices are in use.
Water wings also make it harder to swim and tread water correctly, which just adds one more bad habit for a child to break. We’d rather teach children to be strong swimmers as soon as possible.
No, Really, Stop Splashing
We get it. It’s hot out and you’re happy to finally have a moment to cool off. You’re so happy that you run across the pool floor and dive on top of your buddy and start splashing around and — hey, why are we blowing the whistle at you?
Aside from the fact that you broke a ton of rules, splashing is annoying for others around you who don’t want any part of your horseplay. It can also lead to a lot of problems. A lot of injuries and accidents happen outside the pool, when the pool deck is wet and slick with — you guessed it — water that’s been splashed out of the pool.
Excessive splashing can make it hard to see above and below water, which makes our duties even more difficult to perform. Playing around in the pool is part of the fun, but that fun stops when someone gets hurt.
We’re People, Too!
Lifeguarding may be our job — and it’s a great one! — but that’s only a fraction of what makes us who we are. So treat us, and our job, with respect. If you do that, and read the rest of our pool etiquette tips, we’ll get along just fine.