Dangers of Distracted Lifeguards

Finally ABC World News aired a story thanks to Paula Faris that is becoming all too common in the world of lifeguarding and with good reason…people are dying! You can view the report below!

Distracted lifeguards are a huge liability and the causes can be attributed to cell phones, immaturity, unprofessional conduct, etc. etc. Most of the distracted lifeguards have been very young lifeguards under the age of 18 and this opens up another can of worms that must be addressed by the major players such as American Red Cross, Starfish Aquatics Institute and even Ellis & Associates.

There is a mountain of video and photo evidence to support the national problem of distracted lifeguards. We have seen lifeguards texting from the chair, we have seen lifeguards sleeping in the chair, we have seen lifeguards listening to their music players with earbuds and the list goes on and on. As a result, swimmers (kids) have died under their watch. Lifeguards who engage in this type of behavior allowing someone to drown are definitely negligent and should be held accountable for their actions!

A huge factor in this problem of distracted lifeguards really boils down to age. To become a certified EMT, one must be 18 years or older and we feel that the same set of rules should be applied to the role of lifeguards. Just like EMT’s, lifeguards have the lives of people under their watch and should realize that this job is not a cake walk as some like to say. The job of lifeguarding requires maturity, a keen sense of hearing and sight and the understanding that saving lives is serious business which a 15 or 16 year old would not comprehend.

These young lifeguards should be audited incessantly and monitored daily by qualified supervisors. Even then some supervisors are not enforcing the rules and are complicit in encouraging the behavior seen on video. There needs to be consequences when these young lifeguards are caught texting from the chair such as termination. No and, if or buts! There are many legal eagles out there who would love to chew and spit out negligent lifeguards and making sure they pay for the rest of their lives for their actions or inaction.

Many pools and aquatics facilities are contracting independent auditors to gather information on lifeguards. The information and video/photo evidence is being used to terminate lifeguards who are considered as a liability, and rightfully so. We have been able to provide this service to undisclosed clients and have caught some of the worst offenders.

Golden State Lifeguards is in the early stages of developing a national registry of lifeguards that will contain current certification standings in their state as well as list disciplinary actions levied against them among many other items. It is time that lifeguards be held to a higher standard and accountable for their actions.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Golden State Lifeguards
Human Resources


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