From Baywatch to reality: everything you need to know to become a lifeguard – Part 1

A Swimmer's life
Written by: Gianna De Santis at 19 August '15 0
You are reading: From Baywatch to reality: everything you need to know to become a lifeguard – Part 1
Photo credit: “Baywatch alla corsa” by Pochestorie  is licensed under CC BY


Everyone calls them “lifeguards”, the unmistakable red shirt or tank top, their lookout station, whistle, rescue boat and life ring, and a sculpted physique, whether man or woman. Everybody’s friend, ready to spring into action when needed, the ever watchful and attentive eye, but also the undisputed movie or TV series’ star. In short, a reassuring figure, swimmers’ guardian angel.

Baywatch profession

When talking about lifeguards, Baywatch, the hit series of the ’90, immediately comes to mind. So many stories set on the most beautiful beaches in the United States, but especially two characters remained in the imagination of men and women: one is the statuesque beauty of David Hasselhoff, who played Mitch Buchannon for ten seasons; the other, the large-breasted Pamela Anderson who played C.J. Parker for several years. Just to mention two of the many characters which have involved millions of viewers in their daily lives. The TV show and later the movie brought us various rescue stories intertwined with lead characters’ problems.

In reality

Once again thanks to the TV, the importance of lifeguard profession was really understood. The lifeguard is by definition the one who watches on the safety of those frequenting the swimming pools, beach or lake bathing facilities. It is a serious and challenging profession because it serves to prevent water-related accidents and to regulate bathing; the lifeguard takes care of the structure or area in which he or she operates, and in more severe cases must intervene to save people’s life, sometimes by using first aid techniques.

How to become a lifeguard

Firstly, to become a lifeguard, you must be between 16 and 65 years of age and be fit for swimming and physical activity. And then you must take a course and pass theory and practice exams: if you pass them both you get certified, and this allows you to work in pools. In addition, for sea and internal waters, lifeguards need to pass another practice exam. Over the years it is vital to constantly train and be always up to date.

Baywatch part 2

Do you want to train for such a job and are curious to know the secrets of becoming a good lifeguard? From diet to training methods to how to avoid unnecessary risks in water and much more – we will tell you everything you need to know. Do not miss the second part in which we delve in all these issues together with a guardian angel of our beaches.

To be continued…


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Written by:

Gianna De Santis

Journalist since 2000, athlete since forever. I made of my two great passions, journalism and sports, my work. I love telling stories and share impressions both with the heart and with a critical eye.