Alternative titles for this job include Swimming pool attendant, recreation assistant, beach lifeguard

Lifeguards look after swimming areas, help swimmers to stay safe and carry out rescues in emergencies.

Average salary (a year)

£13,000 Starter


£29,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become a Lifeguard

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • training with professional bodies


You may be able to work as a pool attendant or assistant, for example in a leisure centre, and take lifeguard qualifications on the job.

Other routes

If you want to work as a pool lifeguard you'll need one of the following qualifications:

To be a beach lifeguard, you'll need to complete the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ). You can complete the qualifications by:

  • joining a local club as a volunteer and training with them
  • training with a professional body

Once you're qualified, you can also apply to work with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

More information

Career tips

You may find it helpful if you've got a first aid qualification when applying for jobs.

Further information

You can find out more about training to be a pool or beach lifeguard from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

To qualify as a pool lifeguard, you'll need to:

  • be able to swim 50 metres in less than one minute
  • be able to swim 100 metres on your front and back without stopping
  • surface dive to the deepest part of the pool

To qualify as a beach lifeguard you must have a good level of fitness and be able to swim in the sea to take the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification. You'll also be expected to meet more standards, such as:

  • completion of a 400m pool swim in less than eight minutes
  • making a surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
  • treading water for two minutes
  • climbing out of deep water unaided

You'll have to demonstrate these skills as part of an assessment.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a pool or beach lifeguard you'll supervise swimming areas and help people in trouble. Your main tasks will include:

  • making sure swimmers follow safety rules
  • making sure people stay in safe areas
  • rescuing swimmers in danger
  • giving first aid

As a pool lifeguard, you’ll also be:

  • advising swimmers on how to use diving boards and slides
  • checking pool water temperature and chemicals
  • cleaning the pool area and setting up/putting away equipment

As a beach lifeguard you’ll also be:

  • monitoring sea conditions and setting up safety flags
  • a point of contact for people on the beach

Working environment

You could work at a fitness centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and hot.

Career path and progression

You could become a leisure centre manager with the National Pool Management Qualification.

Some pool lifeguards gain swimming teaching or coaching qualifications and give swimming lessons.

You could compete in lifeguarding competitions.

You could lead a team of lifeguards and train them.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Lifeguard right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

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