Introduction To UK Outdoor Jobs As A Lifeguard

Are you someone who has often been described as a water baby? There are lots of us out there who love to spend time at swimming pools, by the sea, close to lakes and other waterways. If you are count yourself as one of those people and you are looking for part time work, then have you thought about working outdoors doing part time lifeguard jobs?

In previous posts, we have given you lots of ideas about part time opportunities you could consider if you want to to work outdoors and in this article, we will be looking at what is involved in the world of lifeguarding and communicating to others about how to be safe in the water. Lifeguard jobs come with lots of responsibility as you could be required to save someone’s life at any time during your shift but if you love to be around water and you are a strong swimmer, part time lifeguard jobs could be perfect for you.

How Do I Become A Part Time Lifeguard?

If you like the idea of working outdoors, doing part time lifeguard jobs the first thing you need to do is get fit and get qualified. You can see the qualifications needed for lifeguard jobs in the section at the end of this article.

If you have the necessary basic qualifications, then you can take a look at the current listings on the UK part time jobs website. There is a whole variety of part time jobs and you can search by category or area.

If you have a local swimming pool or beach that is supervised by lifeguards close to where you live, you could also introduce yourself to them and find out who they work for. Some pools and beaches will be looked after by local authorities whilst others will be private companies. You could do paid or voluntary part time work as a pool assistant whilst you qualify or, for beach lifeguards, join an RLSS or SLSGB club to train or volunteer with them. This means you can get practical work experience and get your face known at the same time. See the final section for necessary lifeguard qualifications and the awarding bodies.

What Are The Duties Of A Part Time Lifeguard Or Swimming Instructor?

If you are working outdoors as a part time lifeguard then your duties will be slightly different whether you are working at a swimming pool or at the beach and other waterways. Obviously, a swimming pool is a different environment to natural swimming places so different skills are necessary.

Whichever environment you work in, all part time outdoor lifeguard jobs will involve the following duties:

    • All outdoor lifeguard jobs involve the supervision of swimming areas – at the swimming pool, part time lifeguards often sit on a high chair by the poolside, watching those in and around the pool to make sure everyone is acting in a safe manner both in the water and whilst getting in and out of the water. At the beach or other supervised waterways, lifeguards sit in high chairs and also patrol areas to make sure everyone is swimming safely.
    • Part time lifeguards must monitor water conditions to make sure it’s safe to swim – at the swimming pool, this involves making sure the correct amount of chemicals are in the water so that everyone is swimming in the healthiest environment. This is often recorded so that swimmers can see the water has been checked. Part time beach lifeguards and those working on other waterways need to be aware of current water conditions so that people can swim safely and not get into problems. At the beach part time lifeguards need to be aware of currents, rips and tidal patterns for their own stretch of water. Safety flags must be erected and necessary safety information must be communicated to beach goers and swimmers so that they are aware of dangers and safe areas.
    • Part time lifeguards must be aware of rescue procedures – Whether in a swimming pool, the sea or other bodies of water, sometimes swimmers can get into trouble. This could be due to strong currents, for example, or because the swimmer has fallen ill and is unable to swim to shore or to the edge of the pool. Lifeguard jobs mean you will need to be able to react quickly and rescue the swimmer from their situation, working within your employer’s guidelines and using correct rescue procedures.
    • Part time lifeguard jobs mean you might need to perform basic first aid – Both at the swimming pool or at the beach and other bodies of water where people are swimming, working outdoors as a lifeguard will mean you have to perform basic first aid on occasion. This could be for cuts and scratches on stones, rocks and pebbles. It could be for insect bites or fish bites or helping someone who may have had a fall around the pool. In more serious cases, some first aid may need to be performed to help a swimmer whilst waiting for qualified paramedics to arrive and take them to hospital. This could be CPR, for example.
    • Part time lifeguards need to communicate and promote swimming safety – Part time lifeguard jobs are not just about sitting in the high chair, staring out over the water and getting a suntan at the same time. Lifeguards need to communicate with swimmers, sometimes in a firm manner. At swimming pools, if people are acting silly and making the environment unsafe for themselves or others, it is the job of the lifeguard to resolve this situation. This can be an explanation of the consequences of their actions and, in more serious cases, you might even have to ask those responsible to leave the pool or swimming area.
    • Part time lifeguard jobs require you to clean and organised – As well as monitoring the cleanliness of the water itself, for pool lifeguards, it is also their responsibility to keep the pool walls and the area surrounding the pool clean. Scrubbing tiles in the pool, removing excess water from the pool surroundings and also clearing any debris or obstacles makes the pool a safer area for swimmers.

Who Becomes A Part Time Lifeguard?

So, do you think you might be someone who could take on those duties and make a good job out of working outdoors doing part time lifeguard work? If you really enjoyed the role, you could also make it into a full time career, working outdoors in summer and carrying out indoor duties in winter.

What qualities to lifeguards have that makes them successful in their work? Let’s take a look at the type of people who do part time lifeguard jobs:

    • Part time lifeguards must be physically fit – As you are responsible for the safety of swimmers, there could be times where you need to act quickly, getting to the water to help someone in trouble or, if it’s a child, for example, reaching them before they enter the water in a dangerous place.
    • Part time lifeguards must be strong swimmers – Well, this one goes without saying. Before you can qualify as a lifeguard, whether that is for beach lifeguard jobs or pool lifeguard jobs, you must pass different swimming tests that demonstrate your strength as a swimmer. These will also demonstrate your ability to carry other people safely through the water. For beach lifeguards, this could involve swimming against strong currents or in adverse weather conditions.
    • Part time lifeguards must have good observation skills – You are responsible for the lives of, and safety, of people in the water so outdoor jobs as a part time lifeguard mean there is no time for daydreaming. Lifeguards need to concentrate at all times and watch people both in the water and out of the water. You need to be able to spot, as quickly as possible, anyone who might be having problems in and out of the water, and act quickly.
    • Part time lifeguards need good communication skills – People go to the beach and other waterways or swimming pools to have fun so, as a part time lifeguard, you need to be able to find a balance between communicating in a fun way with swimmers and beach goers whilst also making them aware of safety around the water. On other occasions, you might need to be firm with people who are not acting in a safe manner and encourage them to change their behaviour. If someone falls ill, lifeguards need to be able to communicate with the person to find out what the problem is and pass on this information to paramedics, if need be.
    • Part time lifeguard jobs will require you to be able to react quickly in an emergency and be calm – If you are the sort of person who panics at the first sign of something not going according to plan then, even if you are a strong swimmer, lifeguard jobs might not be for you. Lifeguards need to be able to work quickly and confidently in emergency situations and sometimes, these can be a matter of life or death. As well as dealing with the person who is in trouble, you may also have to deal with their friends and family, keeping them calm whilst you deal with the situation and instructing them what to do.
    • Part time lifeguards need to be able to work flexible hours – for part time, outdoor lifeguard jobs you are going to be working longer hours throughout the summer months. These types of roles can be ideal for those of you looking for seasonal work such as summer jobs. If you are working outdoors, these jobs are most likely to be during daylight hours so you could have your nights free. Beaches and outdoor swimming pools are often busier at weekends, throughout the school summer holidays and on public holidays, too, so you need to be able to work during these times.
    • Do you want to to work part time? Part time lifeguard jobs are often on a part time, casual basis and even, sometimes on a voluntary basis. If you are looking at this site, then you are most likely interested in working part time so part time lifeguard jobs could be ideal for you.
    • Are you committed to providing first class customer service? All guests at swimming pools and beaches are there to have a fun time and an unforgettable experience for all the right reasons. Part time lifeguard jobs mean you will be responsible for being part of a team that makes sure customers get this fun experience and happy memories of the place where they also felt all safety procedures were in place and everything was hygienic.
    • Are you willing to work in different locations? Depending on the company where you work as a part time lifeguard, whether that is as a pool lifeguard or a beach lifeguard, you might be required to do shifts in different areas. This could be to cover sickness, holidays or busy periods in particular areas. Some companies and local authorities run more than one pool or are responsible for more than one waterway in certain areas so you could be working at just one, or all, of these.
    • Part time lifeguard jobs require you to be a good team worker – Whether that is to cover shifts in different areas, as mentioned above, or to liaise with other staff around the pool or beach to make sure customers are having the best experience, part time lifeguards need to be able to work as part of a team.
    • Can you work independently? There will be many occasions when doing part time lifeguard jobs that you are going to need to think on your feet and make an independent decision. This is especially the case in an emergency where, although you might be able to call on fellow lifeguards and team members for assistance, you will need to make a decision and take action until your assistance arrives.
    • Are you naturally patient and sociable? Yes, you need the fitness, skills and qualifications to be able to rescue someone in an emergency but you are also going to be the first port of call when swimmers and beach goers have a question. This might be for directions to somewhere, where to buy an ice cream from, where to report items missing or found. You could get all sorts of questions and situations that you feel are nothing to do with your lifeguard job – but they are all a part of your role. If you are not a naturally outgoing or sociable person, part time lifeguard jobs might not be the ideal roles for you.

Where Do Part Time Lifeguards Work?

Full time jobs as a lifeguard will see you working indoors during the winter months but if you are looking to work outdoors on a part time basis, then there are lots of opportunities for qualified lifeguards as many roles out there are for part time, casual and seasonal staff.

Part time outdoor pool lifeguard jobs

If you have pool lifeguard qualifications and you are keen to work outdoors, the good news is, there is now a handful of outdoor pools that have opened or reopened around the United Kingdom. If there is one in your local area, then there could be opportunities for part time work here. These tend to be open throughout the summer months, especially during the school summer holidays and weekends. Some also run swimming lessons for children and adults, too.

Part time beach lifeguard jobs and other waterways

The clue is in the title of the job – if you have the relevant qualifications and have a beach close to you, then there could be seasonal summer jobs as a beach lifeguard available. Beaches around the UK are a mixture of sand, shingle and pebble and tides and currents are very different for each coastal area. As a part time beach lifeguard, you will have to know the characteristics of the beach you are supervising – tide times, currents, where the deep and shallow spots are. If it is a beach popular with sailors or surfers, you will also need to take this into consideration, too.

Some outdoor lifeguard jobs could be available on inland waterways, too, such as lakes. This might be a local, public swimming area or in an activity centre or centre for adventure holidays.

What Are The Entry Requirements And Future Development For Part Time Lifeguards?

There are different qualifications needed whether you want to to work outdoors as a part time pool lifeguard or a part time beach lifeguard. Whichever route you choose to take, all lifeguards need to be at least 16 years of age.

Working with children or vulnerable people

First of all, even if you have all the necessary lifeguard qualifications, there will be one requirement, before you can start part time lifeguard jobs. Working outdoors doing part time lifeguard jobs means that, more often than not, you will be working with the general public who are in the pool, sea or other waterways for leisure reasons. This means you will often be in close contact with children or vulnerable people. Anyone working with children and vulnerable people who need supervision will need to be checked via the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Pool lifeguard jobs – necessary qualifications

If you are more of a pool swimmer than a sea swimmer, then chances are, you will find part time pool lifeguard jobs more rewarding.

In order to work as a pool lifeguard, you will need to attain the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification which is awarded by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) and also the Level 2 Award for Pool Lifeguard which is awarded by the Swimming Teachers Association (STA). You might be able to do these awards at your local swimming pool. To get these awards, you need to demonstrate:

  • Jump or dive to the bottom of the deepest part of the swimming pool.
  • Swim on your front or back for 100 metres without stopping.
  • Swim 50 metres in less than one minute.
  • Tread water for 30 seconds.

If you enjoy doing part time lifeguard jobs and want to take your career further, it is possible to do further qualifications and become head lifeguard with more responsibility.

Beach lifeguard jobs – necessary qualifications

If the beach life is for you and you love to be by the sea, then part time, seasonal beach lifeguard jobs are going to suit you. To qualify as a beach lifeguard, you need to attain the NVBLQ (National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification). As with pool lifeguard qualifications, this is developed by the RLSS UK but also with the SLS GB (Surf Life Saving Club).

The criteria is slightly more difficult than being a pool lifeguard as there is much more to take into consideration. To qualify as a beach lifeguard, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can:

  • Swim 400 metres in less than 8 minutes (this can be done in a pool).
  • Do a surface dive of 1.5 metres.
  • Climb out of deep water unaided.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes.

Lifeguard course also involve classroom time with theory relevant to the type of lifeguard you want to be. You will also learn about rescue processes, first aid and CPR.

So, do you think lifeguard jobs are for you? Start your search and you could soon have a demanding yet rewarding part time lifeguard career.