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Here’s What to Expect from Lifeguard Training

By Matt Sutherland | Posted February 24, 2021 in Lifeguard Job,Parent Blog,Summer Jobs,Uncategorized

Life feels anything but normal right now, but we plan on getting somewhat back to normal in 2021. At the same time, we are making a few changes to lifeguard training this year to help all of us adapt to a new environment. We learned a lot in 2020 about the way we teach, and the way you learn from us. We’re firm believers in continuous improvement and that means applying what we learned over the last year to bring even better training programs to you in 2021!

We’ve teamed up with our new training partners Ellis & Associates to develop a blended learning experience that combines the flexibility of e-learning with the hands-on experience of socially distanced in-person training. As one of the largest providers of lifeguard training in the United States, you can trust the experts to teach you everything you need to earn your certification and fill a lifeguard’s shoes (or swimsuit).

We could go on about how lifeguarding is a great resume builder, or how you’ll stay in physical shape — but you’ve probably heard all about that by now, anyway. Instead, we’re going to look at how we’re going to teach those skills — this season and for years to come.

Preparation and Requirements

Being a lifeguard is both physically demanding and mentally challenging. While lifeguard certifications lasted for two years in the past, every guard will now need to renew their certification annually before it expires. We understand the importance of keeping our guards close to training and confident in their skills every season.

Each trainee is also required to pass a swim pretest to demonstrate they will be adequately prepared for the training and job demands to come. You’ll need to be prepared to:

  • Swim 100 yards continuously using the front crawl and/or breaststroke
  • Tread water for one minute using only your legs
  • Dive feet-first to the deepest part of the pool to retrieve a 10-pound “brick”

We’re keeping the number of physical touch points during all in-person training exercises at a minimum to ensure a safer training environment. Here are some the steps we’re taking to train responsibly:

  • In-person classes will limit the number of students so that social distancing can be maintained
  • Mannequins are used whenever possible to ensure limited touch points
  • All lecture and video segments will be taught virtually
  • Socially distanced instruction at a minimum of 6 feet
  • Increased frequency of hygienic and sanitation procedures
  • Minimized person-to-person and person-to-object contact
  • All sick individuals are required to stay home

Rescue Skills

No two rescues are alike. When an emergency situation strikes, there are dozens of factors that determine the safest way to perform a rescue.

Under close supervision, lifeguards-in-training learn these multiple factors and methods to perform an emergency water rescue. Our instructors will cover:

  • Rescue Equipment: How to use materials to make a rescue both safer and easier
  • Assists: Safe, practical methods for aiding distressed swimmers in common situations before attempting an in-water rescue
  • Entries: Determining the best method to enter the water based on depth, safety, and position above water
  • Approaches: Best ways to approach distressed swimmers based on proximity, equipment available, behavior, etc.
  • Escapes: How to protect oneself when a distressed swimmer behaves dangerously and puts a lifeguard at risk
  • Rescue Techniques: How to carry one or multiple distressed swimmers back to dry land
  • Removals: Safe ways to remove a distressed swimmer from water; accounting for injuries, consciousness, etc.

CPR, Oxygen, and AED Use

By identifying hazards and directing patrons, lifeguards are always working to prevent incidents at the pool. We hope that it never has to happen, but here’s the reality of the job: It is very possible that a lifeguard will need to take action to save someone’s life.

When someone’s heart stops beating, a lifeguard performing CPR — or cardiopulmonary resuscitation — could save a life. These efforts, combined with an automated external defibrillator (AED) and oxygen, significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Lifesaving may seem like a daunting task. But we ensure you will be as prepared as any trained professional, because you will be an actual trained professional! We offer a certification that covers CPR, Oxygen and AED use, through our in person and online blended training program. CPR methods are different for children and infants than they are for adults, which is why our training candidates will learn the correct application for each situation.

First Aid, Personal Protective Equipment, and Bloodborne Pathogens

Today’s world requires a heightened level of biological protection, but to a trained lifeguard, this is “just another day at the office.”

We’re all getting a little extra education in biology right now, and some of a lifeguard’s occupational risks are indeed microscopic. However, we instruct every lifeguard on how to properly apply first aid techniques, and when to use personal protective equipment (PPE) so they can safely continue their duties and minimize biological exposure.

PPE training will be performed online in 2021. Every lifeguard should know how and when to use multiple forms of PPE. We’re also including new PPE response kits in our updated procedures to combat situations that may involve biological risk. These kits are separate from standard lifeguarding first aid kits, and include extra PPE items that may also be found in a standard kit. They include:

  • 2 Bag Valve Masks (one size each for both adult and infant)
  • Disposable gown
  • Face shield
  • Protective goggles
  • Viral filter, compatible with both CPR Masks and BVMs

Health risks like Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV are also a concern for any lifeguard responding to an emergency. This is what makes PPE and practices such an important component of training. In addition to learning how to properly use PPE to minimize risk, our candidates will also learn how to safely handle and minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens, as directed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). By understanding how transmission occurs, along with the proper techniques to reduce exposure, the risk of transmission can be managed responsibly.


Lifeguarding is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone could have. If you decide to pursue your lifeguarding interests, you can feel safe knowing that training is coming from some of the most experienced professionals in the business.