lifeguard problems

Spending countless hours watching people float on their backs? Wearing unflattering swimsuits? Dealing with their bratty kids?

Sounds fun, right? Welcome to Lifeguard Problems.

Leave your own submissions for your lifeguard problems, too!

Until then, rejoice in the fact that you're not, in fact, alone.


soooo, i decided to make a new blog (linked here). it’s mostly just pictures of pretty things and quotes, but if you checked it out and maybe followed it, i would love you forever??? please?

also, for what it’s worth, we’re both still answering your questions, even if we’re a little slow at getting to them sometimes. if you’re worried about not having received a response, it wouldn’t hurt to send your question again to make sure that tumblr didn’t eat your message. because tumblr can mean and nasty in that way. submissions are still temporarily on hold, i think, but those should start back up after finals—when lifeguard season kicks back into gear 

  final moment of shameless self promotion   but really   i'd love to follow some of you guys as well   personal

gaeilgebanphrionsa said:  So I passed! And am now certified and working at a LifeTime fitness club :) it's amazing! Your blog helped me gain so much confidence going into the test as well as the interview so thank you!

Aw, congratulations!! That’s fantastic! 


We’re so glad the blog could help you! And if you ever have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask! :) 

  gaeilgebanphrionsa   replies

soooo, i decided to make a new blog (linked here). it’s mostly just pictures of pretty things and quotes, but if you checked it out and maybe followed it, i would love you forever??? please?

also, for what it’s worth, we’re both still answering your questions, even if we’re a little slow at getting to them sometimes. if you’re worried about not having received a response, it wouldn’t hurt to send your question again to make sure that tumblr didn’t eat your message. because tumblr can mean and nasty in that way. submissions are still temporarily on hold, i think, but those should start back up after finals—when lifeguard season kicks back into gear 

  i'll also probably follow you back if you post those sorts of things bc i need more of that on my dash   personal   hipster   hipster blog   quotes   general housekeeping   and shameless self promotion


Don’t ever feel offended if I don’t answer your asks or anons or memes. I’m not ignoring you. I would never ignore anybody on purpose. Either tumblr ate them or I had every intention to and I just forgot. 

So this is basically a reminder that I’m human and a terrible one at that so don’t hate me for my flaws because I have a lot of them.

007missing-in-action said:  Hi, me again ;) So I'm wondering about lifeguard interviews and what that'll be like. I'm guessing I won't have to swim because I already passed the test for my certification? And will they give me whistles and apparel or whatever y'all use or do I find that stuff myself??

Hi again!!!

So, at my facility we have a two part interview. The first part is on your skills in the water. You have to swim (minus the brick test!), demonstrate your knowledge of backboarding, rescues, and CPR, etc.

The second part is the interview with the manager, which is just a typical interview (Why do you want to lifeguard here, what can you bring to the team).

Usually, you’re given a whistle, but the swimsuit and shorts/shirt has to be purchased. But, I’ve had friends at other facilities who were given everything for free!

Anyone else have anything to add about the interview process?

Very good Lifeguard Novel 

For a real good lifeguard novel, try reading:  “Livin’ in the Lake”.  Available at

007missing-in-action said:  So I just got my lifeguard certificate (yay!) and there's just one thing that bugs me. If you have to scan your whole zone every ten seconds, what do you do about people who ask you questions, or kids who are breaking the rules and you have to go over to them and tell them to behave? I see guards talking to guests at the pool and I don't understand how you can do that and still keep your 10/20. I asked my instructors this but I didn't get a really good answer...

I always tell the guards that they have to continue scanning while answering a question, and even let the patron know, politely, that you’re listening to them, but that you still have to continue scanning.  That usually lets the patron know that they have to keep their conversation brief because you’re doing an important job!  For excessive rule breaking that can’t be corrected with a quick whistle blast, my facility has head lifeguards or supervisors in place that you can signal to help you out. Or, we can signal a guard that is out of scanning rotation to assist with rule enforcement.  Just remember to always make use of your team when you’re scanning and an issue comes up. That way, the water is always being watched :)

a note about asks: i will do everything in my power to answer everything you guys send this way. however, with that being said, please also know that this is a side project. life can get crazy complicated sometimes, and, because of that, it might take a little while to get back to you. i promise, though, you will always get a response from one of us. even if submissions themselves are on temporary hiatus because they’re so backed up.

also, please know that because of the side-blog nature of lifeguardproblems, all asks will be answered publicly, unless you specify in your ask that you would like it to be private. and, in that case, it will be 100% private. i know that we would never want to share something with everyone that you’re not comfortable having shared, so if it makes you even slightly uncomfortable, please let us know and we’ll respect that. 

please never forget that if you have a question (the certification, the job itself, or even just personal things), the ask box is always open, so don’t ever hesitate to send one in. just remember the couple things listed above and we’re all set. ;) 

thank you guys somuch for being patient for all of this. you’re all rock-stars! (but we already knew that.) 

  some housekeeping things   personal   replies

themountainscalled said:  I just want to give a shout out to all the new guards this year that are terrified. I've been a guard for 11 years and A lifeguard instructor for 3. I know you may be terrified now, but trust me, your instructors wouldn't give you that certificate unless we are fully confident in your abilities. So don't psych yourself out!!! If you do have to make a save, you'll know what to do and that training will take over! Good luck!!!

This already says it all, guys! You’ve got this! 


  themountainscalled   replies   this was a really great message   thank you!

hallwaystalker said:  I'm taking my lifeguard certification in a week, I'm confident that I will do well but I am a little overweight. I do track and field at my school. Will my weight affect my chances of getting a job?

Hey there! Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Life got kind of really crazy at the last minute. 

First off: Good luck on your certification! 

Second: No, it really shouldn’t. I swam competitively in high school, was in excellent shape all things considered, but I’ve always been slightly overweight. It didn’t make any real difference, for me. If you can swim the laps, and if you can competently perform the saves, then your weight shouldn’t make any difference at all. Just be confident in your abilities, and you’re set! 

Really, though, good luck on your certification! And, if I am too late and you’ve already started, I hope it’s been going well! :) 


  hallwaystalker   replies

fashionismytoxicdrug said:  hi! I have this problem.. i'm dating a guy that a i met in my lifeguard's formations, and we both work at the beach together.. I'm in love with him and leave him isn't an option! But this isn't gonna be awkward for our coworkers.?. btw we were always flirting and everybody suspected something .. so maybe they all expected this to happen

To my knowledge, I don’t think that would be a problem. It might be different if one of you were in a managing position, but if you’re just coworkers, I highly doubt that it would be that big of an issue. I could be wrong, of course, but I think you’ll be okay. 

And honestly, your staff probably isn’t too concerned. However, if there is excessive PDA or if you’re slacking on your job in favor of spending time with your boyfriend, then you might run into a problem. Otherwise, just remain professional and you should be good. 

  fashionismytoxicdrug   replies

treblegirl77 said:  I'm a lifeguard and swim instructor at my Local YMCA where I've been working for about 5 moths. I love it! The people, the pool, everything. My question is, how do you feel about and deal with working relationships? I've been crushing on the head guard since I got there. Do you think it's unprofessional? Also any tips on fitting in with the college student that come home on break?

Aw, YMCA’s are the best. A local one is where I did my certification and the home of my first job. It definitely has a special place in my heart. :) 

I can’t speak from experience on the working relationships, tbh. Both my boss and head guard were older and married, and we were a fairly small staff. I know that in most jobs, outside lifeguarding, an employee can’t have a relationship with his/her manager (which would be the equivalent of your head guard). I would tread with some caution. Maybe your Y doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but your other guards might not appreciate it (even if you don’t necessarily get special treatment, they might not see it that way). You have my total sympathies, though! That’s a tough position to be in. I wish you all the luck with it! 

Now, something I can actually speak with confidence on! The joys of being a college kid. ;) If they’re anything like my friends or myself, they’ll probably be pretty chill. Just be friendly with them and they’ll likely be friendly in return. They’re really not much different. The only thing to be aware of is that they’ll likely be pretty desperate to pick up shifts, particularly if they’re not working during the semester. Your hours might suffer a cut-back because of it, but if they have seniority there might not be much you can do about it. It sounds like a cliche, but just be yourself and you’ll be good. :) 

  replies   treblegirl77

turndown5what said:  I just got a job as a lifeguard at an indoor water park, I haven't passed my guard class yet I'm only slide attendant right now but I'll be completing guard class soon and will be an official life guard.. I am completely terrified I'll have to save someone.. I honestly don't know if I'd be able to do it. Like if it's a grown adult? And do you think the company will do like a secret fake rescue thing/audit.. Omg..

Congrats on scoring a job! 

The reality is that there are decent odds that you might have to save someone. It’s in the job description. That is the reason you’re training and taking these classes and learning all these things.

98% of the time you’ll probably just be dealing with bratty kids and their inconsiderate parents, but there’s always that small percentage that something could happen. 

When I first became a guard I was terrified by the prospect of saving someone. Like you, my first shift was plagued by fears of there being a test drowning just to make sure I was capable of doing my job. (Spoiler: There wasn’t. I worked at a small town YMCA. I’m pretty sure my boss was preoccupied with setting up for a zumba class.) That being said, I haven’t worked at a waterpark, much less the one you’re at; I don’t know they’re typical procedure with new guards. If you’re seriously concerned about it, I might ask some of the other guards. (Especially one that you know will tell you the truth and not just try and make you nervous as a joke.) Regardless, stay on your toes and keep an eye out. Don’t let your nerves get to you, but pay attention to your surroundings—as you should always do.

As far as saving someone goes, I think you’re probably stronger than you give yourself credit for. Also, the saves are designed to balance body weight. Even if it is a grown adult, you should be able to get them to the side of the pool. You might need assistance getting them out, in some cases, but at a park you should have plenty at your disposal. (I did and, like I said, I worked at a small pool where I was the only guard on duty.) 

Above all else, be confident in your skills. You’ve made it this far so you must be doing something right. :P If a situation does come up and you have to save someone, just remain calm. Do your job as the situation calls for it and the adrenaline will carry you through. If your instructor didn’t think you could do it, they wouldn’t give you your certification. 

I wish you all the luck in the world! And we’re always hear if you need to talk about something! 

Good luck with your certification! :) 

  this was longer than i anticipated and i hope it makes sense   i'm not feeling particularly coherent tonight   replies   basic-whitebitch

tastefullyfrench said:  I am taking my life guarding test in a few weeks. I just passed the pre test but I'm not sure of what I'm going to need to do. And also if I get a job this summer I'm terrified if I actually have to save someone.

If you passed the pre-test then you’re definitely on the right track! 

My certification sounds a bit different than yours. I don’t recall doing a pre-test (admittedly, it’s been a while). I know that my training involved half the time in a classroom setting discussing the practical issues (signs to watch out for, incorrect behavior, an overview of the rescue drills), and then the other half was in the water, practicing the saves. There was also a CPR portion involved. 

I know it’s easier said than done, but remain calm. I know when I went through my training, my friend and I would come in and practice the physical saves early (though tbh being on swim team helped—we were already there). Even if you feel pretty confident in the saves without the additional practice, it can’t hurt. Confidence is key (but not to the point of overconfidence; that’s when you are more liable to mistakes). 

Remain level-headed and don’t let your nerves get the best of you! When it comes time, you’ll know what to do and the adrenaline will carry you through the rest of it! And we’re here to talk if you ever need to.

Good luck! :) 

  i'm completely exhausted and have just spent the last four hours watching orphan black so hopefully this still made sense   tastefullyfrench   replies