Do you take lifeguards like these two at Nantasket Beach for granted? Was there a point in your life when you thought being a lifeguard would be a cool summer job? Do you know what you would have to prove to qualify?
There has been much written about the shortage of lifeguards nationwide and here in Massachusetts. The state admitted in an interview with the Boston Globe that it can't get all the lifeguards it needs. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) spokesperson S. J. Port told the Globe, "The state has seen 'a significant drop-off' in lifeguard candidates with proper training in recent years."
Qualifications for a DCR Waterfront Lifeguard Position
What does it take to prove you could do this job? In additon to certification in CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguard training, you must pass a rigorous test of your ability to swim and retrieve a person in trouble in the surf.
Here's the full list of requirements. Here are the highlights:
The DCR’s test for pool/inland lifeguards requires candidates to:
- Finish a timed 500 yard swim in 11 minutes or less
- Retrieve a 10 pound object in water that is 12-15 feet deep
- Pass the Lifeguarding, First Aid, & CPR written exams with a score of 80% or higher
- Demonstrate passive victim recovery skills
- Demonstrate active victim recovery skills
- Demonstrate submerged victim recovery skills
In addition to the above, the test for “surf” or ocean beach lifeguards requires candidates to:
- Run 100 yards before entering the water
- Swim for 150 yards
- Run 100 yards after the swim
- Complete the timed 500 yard swim in 9.5 minutes or less (not 11 minutes)
This job needs an Aquathlete!
It makes you appreciate those who sit and scan the beach, count heads in the water, watch the lone swimmers, and are perpared to run if they see someone like you in danger.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2014 Penny & Ed Cherubino