View Full Version : Lifeguard rules

January 5th, 2012, 12:52 PM
I lap swim daily at a public pool, actually a city pool. I alternate between 2 pools depending on my schedule. I see a huge difference in pool management style and lifeguarding situations. One pool is monitored very closely, and the other, often the lifeguard is not even on the deck, and instead in her office behind a window. Are there any laws or standards on how a lifeguard should monitor swimmers, the pool etc? Also, she uses the cell phone and often is eating her lunch and visiting with either swimmers or her family or friends while she is lifeguarding.

January 5th, 2012, 01:57 PM
Are there any laws or standards on how a lifeguard should monitor swimmers, the pool etc? Also, she uses the cell phone and often is eating her lunch and visiting with either swimmers or her family or friends while she is lifeguarding.

I don't think there are laws but well run programs definitely have
pool rules for swimmers and
lifeguard policies and proceedures.

The pool should have a supervisor or committee that it reports to.

Here's an Example

2011 Village Green Homeowners Association Swimming pool policies and procedures for lifeguards The Lifeguard’s primary responsibility is the safety of all guests (http://www.villagegreenweb.com/swimming/LifeGuard_Policy_Procedure.pdf)


The lifeguard’s primary responsibility is the safety of all guests.

No horse-play or playing in the pool while on duty.

Lifeguards will be courteous at all times.

Lifeguards will wear a red swimsuit to make them easily identifiable as the lifeguard.

Lifeguards will sign in and out during each shift.

If there is one or more persons in the pool, a lifeguard chair must be manned.

The other guard may be located near the pool edge or tend to other lifeguard duties.

Guards will switch chairs every hour.

Both guards will watch the pool.

If swimmers are in deep end, one guard will be in a position to watch swimmers there.

If there are more than 15 people in the pool, or if one guard can not adequately supervise the pool, BOTH chairs must be manned.

A lifeguard may play music while on duty. Music will be played at a reasonable volume and must not be able to be heard from outside the fence line. Headphones are NOT allowed. Recorded music with a Parental Advisory label is not allowed.

Lifeguards will enforce the Pool Rules.

Reading a book or magazine is not allowed while on duty.

The pool telephone is primarily for emergencies. Emergency calls should be placed on the pool telephone if possible. Guests may use the pool phone for brief calls. It is not for personal conversations. Necessary calls are to be limited to 2 or 3 minutes.

No cell phones or texting are allowed while on duty.

Lifeguards are required to obtain a substitute if they cannot work on their scheduled shift. Both guards must get manager approval when covering a shift. For planned absences, lifeguards must notify the pool manager at least two weeks in advance. Lifeguard must notify the pool manager as soon as possible of any illness or family emergency that would prevent them from working assigned hours.

Lane marker may be used at the Monticello pool to allow lap swimming.
Mon., Tue., Fri., Sat., and Sun from 12:30-1:30 and 6:00- 7:00. During this time anyone can take advantage of lap swim. Keep lane clear when lap swimmers are present.

Lifeguards will call adult swim every hour on the hour for 10 minutes except for opening and closing hours. Only 18 or older are allowed during the adult swim.

During adult swim concessions will be opened while the other guard takes their break.

Each guard will take scheduled break every other hour.

~ ~ ~


You could ask the guard to watch the pool and not talk on the phone or text. Maybe make a video of the guard.

You could ask if the pool has written policies for guards.

You could write a letter or email the manager and/or managing committee
either from you or anonymously

You could invite the local news crew to do an undercover sting of the guards behavior.

Don't wait for something tragic to happen then wonder if only.

At UT there are several guards, they work in shifts, they pay attention, no cell phones texting, magazines books or talking with buddies
They rotate stands and take breaks.
They change the lane ropes from scy to LCM.
the pool manager likes his job and doesn't want to lose it because he's not enforcing lifeguard policies and proceedures

January 5th, 2012, 02:00 PM
The Red Cross Lifeguard Training course is very specific on how lifeguards should be attentive, scanning the pool area the whole time with a rescue tube at the ready.

I too see very different standards based on facility. And that is who is responsible: The facility. If something bad happened and a lifeguard was negligent, it would be the facility as well as the individual lifeguard who could be held accountable.

If it were me I'd put a little comment in the box to let them know of the problem. You might see a more attentive lifeguard next time.

January 5th, 2012, 04:23 PM
I noticed a lifeguard texting once. When I would kick he would stop since I could clearly see him when my head was out of the water and then he would start again once I resumed swimming. I told the manager on the way out. I don't swim there often but given her reaction I don't think I'll see him there again.

January 5th, 2012, 07:40 PM
The pool should have a supervisor or committee that it reports to.

Some guards are not up to their duty, but I've seen the very supervisor coming to the pool and chatting with the on-duty lifeguard for ranging from 3 to 30 minutes, as if she's bored. Sometimes they were both seated, sometimes standing facing each other, neither facing the pool. The guard may have felt his work was being interfered, but she's the supervisor.

(They should have thanked me for keeping an eye on the pool for them during all that time--while no one kept an eye on me. :cool:)

January 5th, 2012, 10:13 PM
There's a particular lifeguard at one my pools who texts, leaves the natatorium for 15 minute periods, has 30 minute conversations on his cell phone, conversations with random people with his back to the pool, etc, etc etc. He does this when he is the only lifeguard on duty and sometimes when I am the only person in the pool.

He was an absolutely awful lifeguard. I was going to make a complaint, but then I stopped seeing him around, so maybe somebody else did. I didn't want to feel responsible for him losing his job. He had to be in his early 30's though. At that age he should be mature enough to know his job responsibilities.

I have all the confidence in my swimming, but you never know what could happen. Seizures and blackouts can happen to anyone and are obviously very dangerous in a pool. Parents can get distracted from their children and it doesn't take long for a child to drown. There was a 2 year old girl in my town that drowned because her parents were preoccupied for just 2 minutes.

This is the same pool that puts on movie nights for kids. They get a bunch on inflatable floats, close the pool for lap swimming, turn of the lights, and project a movie on the wall. This couldn't be more dangerous. I've seen them test everything while I swim laps. The lifeguard watches the movie, not me, and probably couldn't see anyone at the bottom of the pool due to the lack of lighting.

Another thought is that the pool only has one lifeguard on duty at a time. I think my lifeguard training told me you're supposed to identify the problem in less than 10 sec, get to the subject in under 20, and get them out of the pool in 2. I'm not sure it'd be too easy to backboard a person out of the pool with only one person. The lifeguard doesn't have a walkie talkie or a panic button to summon help that I can see.

All these thoughts make me think they're not too great in their abilities. I know A LOT of lifeguards that do not know how to properly preform CPR and I am sure this probably holds true here. I'd love to audit them.