As the summer swim season approaches, I’m aware that this will be the first time some lifeguards will experience sitting in a lifeguard tower or chair with a holiday size crowd. This is a call to empower that rookie lifeguard. Let them know that if their zone gets too crowded, it’s okay to call for back-up or request an additional lifeguard for the rotation. It’s not about testing the limits of what they can handle; it’s about preventing an unsafe situation from happening.
As a veteran lifeguard, it’s your job to empower staff with less experience to confidently make contact with the dad who needs to be reminded to watch his children. Your lifeguard’s confidence comes from your support and lets the rookie know, he or she is part of team, and that drowning prevention is a shared responsibility.
As the manager, supervisor, or coordinator, you will be empowering your staff to give swim tests, encourage lifejacket use, and enforce child supervision. On their downtime, you will empower them to hydrate, eat, and reapply sunscreen. Follow suit and empower yourself to make the tough calls; authorize that extra 15-minute swim break or close your facilities entrance gates due to capacity limits. Remember revenue is not the priority if it compromises patron safety.
Our goal, as lifeguards, is that everyone that visits our pools, waterparks, beaches, or lakes goes home safe and uninjured. We are a team that advocates water safety for the young, the naïve, the uninformed, and the ones that just go out a little too far. Anywhere, anyplace, anytime, we ask of ourselves to be vigilant and professional to all duties assigned to us for our communities. We are happy to serve and proud to be empowered lifeguards.