The job of a lifeguard looks glamorous from the outside, as portrayed by movies and TV dramas like BayWatch. The reality is completely the opposite of what we might expect, as each day is equivalent to playing a game of life and death. Sitting by the beach and looking good is hardly what a lifeguard is obligated to in the real world.
During the peak summer months of June and July, the Huntington Beach is packed with public. The waters are crowded with men and women of all ages engaged in activities like swimming, surfing, and motor boating. Lifeguards have to remain on their toes 24/7 on such occasions and watch the surroundings like a hawk. The job is tougher than you think and sometimes you can’t even get a second to pause and take a deep breath.
Qualifying for the job of a lifeguard is no easy task and demands the most rigorous kind of training. Over 70% of candidates applying for the position fail to pass the physical trials halfway down the course, which equals 80 to 90 hours on average. If you wonder why that is the case, then the most logical explanation is “the millennial lifestyle.” I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but the new generation just keeps getting lazier. They rarely show interest in outdoor activities, and for some reason taking P.E at school is not an obligation anymore.
There are not enough boys or girls ready for a long-term commitment regarding this job. They do not see it as a sound career option and will only go as far as trying it out as a summer gig. They would prefer a boring 9 to 5 job even if that pays them slightly less. Fulltime lifeguards make good money and are even eligible for early retirement (around 50 years of age) in most places. Despite the perks, it is a risky job where dozens of lives could be dependent on you all round the clock.
A lifeguard may have to jump into deep cold waters any time of the day (independent of weather conditions) without thinking twice because taking that time could mean losing one or more lives. You may have to perform CPR numerous times on the same day and one wrong decision can put you on the spot for someone’s death. Few people have the patience and stamina to go through this kind of pressure on a daily basis and that is why it is not a very popular profession.
The life of a lifeguard is constantly at risk, which is why worker’s compensation insurance is mandatory; safety comes first at all times. It is common for lifeguards to develop joint pains, sore backs, and skin problems from spending long hours in the water and under the sun. Apart from that, they can get involved in various accidents at shore and encounter fatal injuries. Sometimes the upper authorities might attempt to steer away from reimbursement and consulting the law is your only shot at justice.
Becoming a lifeguard for a living is definitely not a piece of cake, but do not let that scare you. Lifeguards are trained to handle all the hardships and it pays off in the end. Many days are just carefree and fun on the beach as well, which makes up for all the bad ones. The payscale is superb, comes with life insurance, and any unfortunate event is likely to be handsomely compensated. If you’re athletic, sympathetic and love the sea, it is the perfect designation for you.