Lifeguarding provides fun summer job


Katie Carita, Assistant Sports Editor

As school winds down for the year, multiple students are finding jobs to make money and gain valuable working experience over the summer. Lifeguarding is a popular option for students who enjoy working in the community and want to spend their days at the pool.  

The duties of a lifeguard can differ from those required by average jobs, as there is an added task of keeping everyone at the pool safe. There is a lot more training involved compared to other part-time jobs aimed at teens.

“To become a certified lifeguard, I had to take a five-day training class,” sophomore Mary Mullins, who is employed by the Chantilly Highlands community pool, said. “The course covered CPR, how to use an AED [automated external defibrillator] and how to perform deep water rescues.”

There is also a physical exam that tests prospective lifeguards on their swimming ability. The assessment certifies that the lifeguard is capable of rescuing drowning individuals. This prerequisite draws many competitive swimmers to the job because they already have the necessary skills needed to be effective lifeguards.

“One of the requirements on the physical test was to tread water for two minutes without using your arms,” Mullins said. “Coming into it as a swimmer definitely gave me an advantage.”

Though lifeguarding is a fun job that allows workers to spend their days outside, there are also serious responsibilities that come along with working at a pool.

“The main part of the job is monitoring the pool,” junior MP Secada, who lifeguarded at the local waterpark, Water Mine, last summer said. “You have to make sure everyone is safe and no one is breaking the rules.”

There are other lifeguarding requirements besides watching the safety of others. Depending on the pool, the job responsibilities can range from operating the concession stand to cleaning the pool deck.

“Every morning we opened the pool by cleaning the water and setting up the deck chairs,” sophomore Dylan Lee, who also worked at Water Mine last summer, said. “At night I would basically put everything away and clean up the trash.”

The demands of lifeguarding combined with long hours and numerous guests can make it a difficult job.

“It was hard to stay focused with all the distractions of lifeguarding,” Lee said. “You can get tired standing in the sun all day, and sometimes kids will come talk to you and distract you from watching the pool.”

However, because being a lifeguard is such an important position and can carry serious consequences if not done well, many lifeguarding positions offer a higher salary than regular part-time jobs.   

“I was actually employed by Fairfax County, so I was paid more than most teenagers,” Secada said.  

Being a lifeguard can be a tough job, but it comes with many rewarding moments through helping families have a safe and fun summer.

“ I was able to save a couple of kids who were drowning,” Lee said. “There were some really great moments during my time as a lifeguard. I jumped in when I saw a pair of kids who couldn’t keep their heads above the water.”