Skills of RNLI lifeguards

Do you think it’s an easy number being a Lifeguard on the beach? Not so easy to get the job – here are a few things you didn’t know about life guards provided for our safety by the RNLI ( lifeboats)

Ever tried running on sand? Or swimming through surf? Our lifeguards adhere to rigorous fitness standards, including being able to complete: 

  • a 400m pool swim in under 7½ minutes 
  • a 25m pool swim underwater and a 25m surface swim consecutively in under 50 seconds
  • a 200m beach run in under 40 seconds

Lifeguards are always on high alert, anticipating trouble. Prevention is key – lifeguards will tell you that a good lifeguard hardly ever gets wet. They spot dangers like rip currents, changes in the state of the tide and the weather. But they also people watch to pre-empt trouble. 

To be an RNLI lifeguard you need to have an internationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification. And RNLI training is world class. All lifeguards are trained in how to use their lifesaving kit: rescue boards, rescue tubes, first aid kits, defibrillators, radios and other essential lifesaving equipment. Some lifeguards have specialist training for inshore rescue boats, rescue watercraft and four-wheel-drive vehicles. 

Lifeguards deal with a lot of minor first aid incidents – cuts and bruises, stubbed toes and weeverfish stings. They also have more advanced first aid skills for when things go badly wrong. They’re qualified in casualty care – that’s high level first aid using specialist equipment and basic paramedical drugs. Last August one team at Botany Bay, Kent, saved the life of a 6-year-old girl. She had a seizure in the water. Working alongside a GP, the team used CPR and coordinated the ambulance response.

Lifeguards have seen and heard it all. They’re teased by merry stag parties and badgered by tourists for photos. ‘I’ve even had people complaining about the noise the seagulls make,’ recalls Brett Shepherd, Lifeguards Operations Manager. Lifeguards have to maintain their sense of humour and stay professional.

These are just a few facts that you probably didn’t know, but if you feel you could do the job, read on:-

Think you’ve got what it takes?

If you fancy a career on the beach, or know somebody who might, apply to become a lifeguard today.