So, some of you will already know that I am a lifeguard. I’ve officially been a lifeguard since January 2014, when I did my NPLQ, but I only started working as a lifeguard in June 2014, so my one-year anniversary is coming up!
Now, a lot of you probably think that being a lifeguard is a pretty glamorous job, but it really isn’t. I mean, it’s definitely a good job to have, and I’m not saying I don’t want to be a lifeguard anymore, but there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t know about.
Firstly, the lifeguard training course (the NPLQ) costs about £200, which is pretty pricey. To do the qualification you have to spend six days (two weekends Friday-Sunday) doing all the training, which was actually quite fun and I met a lot of new people (none of whom I have ever worked with or seen again, unfortunately). When we did the training course, the guy running it told us all about the different ways of saving people and what to do in an emergency, and about all the different types of swimming pools, and what things like COSHH means and all of this stuff, but it’s only until your induction when you really realize just how much cleaning is involved.
I think most people assume that being a lifeguard is just sitting in the chair watching people swim, which in fairness, is a big part of lifeguarding. However, it’s not just watching the pool though is it? Because you’re being paid to make sure people don’t drown. And that’s another thing, when I did my NPLQ, they didn’t really say what I should tell people off for doing. I mean, there’s a lot of the obvious stuff, like “Don’t push him off the inflatable”, and “Don’t run”, and “Don’t jump on the float”, but there have been times when kids have done stuff which I thought would be okay, but apparently they’re not actually allowed to do what they were doing. It’s all in the learning, really.
I think the main thing they don’t tell you about lifeguarding is the amount of hair you have to clean from the drains. It’s disgusting, especially if you’re on the late shift, when you have to clean up the changing rooms after the pool has closed and it’s just gross. If you were still wondering by now, no, the pool I work at doesn’t employ professional cleaners. Well, they do, but these “professional cleaners” go by the other name of “lifeguard”.
Have you ever had any jobs that weren’t quite what you were expecting them to be? It’d be great to have some sort of “Not in the Job Description 101” in the comments, so feel free!