Lifeguards Get No Respect, Sadly!


With days before the May 25th release of the new movie Baywatch starring Zac Effron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, we fear the backlash that this movie will cause to the overall lifeguard industry. Hollywood has once again got it all wrong and portrays the profession of lifeguarding as nothing but smut! As is lifeguards are never thought of as “real” lifesavers unlike firefighters or police officers, sadly! We fear this movie will only deepen the public relations nightmare that lifeguards face and will make it more difficult to be seen as first responders that make a difference. Additionally, we also must deal with those lifeguards on the job who give the profession a bad name through their cheesy YouTube videos or the lack of skills which in some cases have the public questioning their training. Yes, we have a great deal of work to do and we have been working hard within the last 11 years to raise the bar and put lifeguards in a better light.

We must not forget those lifeguards who have given everything to save the lives of others and notably Ben Carlson, a Newport Beach Lifeguard who drowned off the coast of Southern California trying to effect a rescue.Ben was a shining example of a lifeguard who put himself on the line to save others and in this case, lost his life doing so. He will always be known as a “real” lifesaver and should be an example to all lifeguards.

“He is definitely a hero. The victim he was rescuing survived, and he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Newport Beach Fire Department Assistant Chief Rob Williams said.

Not a day goes by when we talk to especially pool lifeguards who think the job is “easy”, “a piece of cake”, “a great way to get a piece of ass”, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. What we see and hear is quite disturbing to say the least however beach lifeguards understand the seriousness of the job. We cringe when we see pool or waterpark lifeguards posting cheesy videos portraying them as exactly how the public perceives them to be..immature and irresponsible. See for yourself below:

If public perception of lifeguards can be improved, it will be done through extensive training and teaching them that as lifeguards, they must act like professionals. Maturity and professionalism must be a hallmark of the profession. Unfortunately with a minimum age requirement of 15 years of age via American Red Cross, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We are advocating a later age requirement of 18 years of age. To be an EMT, one must be at least 18 years of age so we ask why not the same for lifeguards? We feel that age 15, a teenager is just not mature enough to understand what is involved in being a lifeguard. At that age, they are not equipped mentally or physically to react in a life or death situation. How many times have we heard of young lifeguards freezing leaving bystanders to do their jobs? Too many!!

Honestly we will say it has been very difficult to find mature and responsible lifeguard candidates. Many feel a strong sense of entitlement and many feel they must be coddled however we do not and never will subscribe to that. We demonstrate that to be a part of this team, they MUST submit to discipline, responsibility and accountability. Many candidates who see this often times reconsider their position and go to one of our competitors who foster a “party” like culture which has given this industry a bad name. There are a multitude of lifeguards in the public eye that give the good ones a bad name and thereby respect is not given.

It is time that these young lifeguards, namely pool lifeguards get notice! It is time to get serious and to show the public that lifeguards are indeed lifesavers. It is time that those bad lifeguards get called out! Think we are kidding? Think again!

We are coming after you!

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