At the lowest level, a lifeguard is proficient in first aid skills, rescue swimming, and public relations. At the higher level, a lifeguard is an experienced EMT who preforms a vast array of skills in many situations that may not even involve lifeguarding in the traditional sense. These skills can include training in Code 3 Emergency Driving Techniques, Personal Water Craft Rescue, law enforcement, ATV operations and many other advanced skills.
The level of skills and experience that you need in order to be hired depends directly on the lifeguard position required and the lifeguarding environment you wish to enter. For example, someone who is interested in becoming a deckhand or operator on a high-speed rescue boat in Huntington Beach will need different qualifications and Lifeguard training than someone who is interested in a lifeguarding job at a local pool.
Although all lifeguarding jobs require different skill sets, there are basic characteristics that all lifeguards must have:
Physical fitness is a cornerstone of an efficient and effective lifeguard. Although by no means do you have to be an Olympic Swimmer, you must be able to swim at a moderate pace at extended periods of times. Along with solid swimming abilities, you must be very comfortable in the water and be able to tread water for extended periods of time. You must also have enough strength to rescue, tow, and support victims for short to moderate periods of time.