When you hear lifeguards, you might think of the famous Baywatch series and wonder how much adventurous their lives are. Well, hold on, the responsibilities of a lifeguard are full of risks and much of their work environment is not as fun as the TV series shows.
Lifeguards come in all shapes and sizes, and they are directly involved in the safety of people. Thus, if you plan to become a lifeguard, you will have to think beyond the fancies encouraged by the entertainment world and consider the nature and responsibilities of the job seriously.
One of the easiest ways of starting a career as a lifeguard is freelancing. The freelance community is among the biggest professional communities in the world, and one can find ample opportunities to establish a career and earn money. However, it is not a piece of cake to establish one’s stronghold in the community, considering the rising number of freelancers and along with it, the competition.
There is a host of factors which play a key role in the making of a successful freelance lifeguard, and if you keep in mind these factors, you will excel in the field.
1. Job requirements to become a freelance lifeguard
As mentioned above, the responsibilities of a lifeguard are critically important since they involve lives of people. Therefore, there is more than just swimming skills which employers see in your resume. Read below to know about the job requirements of a freelance lifeguard:
- Formal education in not usually emphasized in job specifications. The employers are concerned about the swimming skills of the applicant.
- In order to become a lifeguard, you should be an exemplary swimmer and must have basic training in CPR process, first-aid techniques, and handling of maladies such as burns, cuts, etc.
- To obtain knowledge in these areas, you will have to get certifications. Lifeguard training courses are offered by a number of institutes such as Indian Red Cross Lifeguard Training Classes which offer courses lasting for nearly six weeks. By the end of training, the candidates usually go through a written test, a swim test, a CPR test, and rescue test. It is only upon successful qualification of all these tests that the candidate shall receive certification.
- Another institute offering educational courses in lifeguard protection is Rashtriya Life Saving Society which provides educational packages in the field of First Aid, Life Saver Training, Beach Lifeguard Training, Pool Lifeguard Training, Rookie lifeguard training, Rescue Watercraft Operator Training, etc. The Institute offers these courses in selected states, namely Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Karnataka.
- Certificate courses will not be of much use unless there is an experience. In order to gain experience, you will have to undertake jobs—whether part-time or full-time—at various settings such as schools, universities, pool clubs, training institutes, etc. Working in these settings will make you confident and help you discharge your duties efficiently.
2. Skills required to become a freelance lifeguard
A life-saving job requires more than just confidence and preparedness; there is an interplay of a number of skills without which a lifeguard cannot be entrusted with the task of ensuring safety to people. Under this head, we shall discuss the most important skills involved in the making of a freelance lifeguard.
- Reliability: A lifeguard is entrusted with the task of looking after the safety of people. No employer will give you a job unless you have considerably proven your reliability—something which can be inferred only through the list of experiences you have mentioned in the portfolio of skills or resume.
- Communication skills: Communication skills play a major role in the discharge of a lifeguard’s duties. There may be situations when lifeguards will have to negotiate with unruly patrons or customers. These skills are imperative in exigencies wherein you have to forthwith communicate with other lifeguards and the medical team. You should know when and how to communicate.
- Endurance: A lifeguard must be able to endure all kinds of extremes while working. He must not let his concentration slip away because of conditions such as weather, overcrowding, etc. When I say endurance, I mean to say that you should be mentally prepared to swing into action whenever needed.
- Time management: In addition to monitoring the activities of people, lifeguards have to do chores such as cleaning restrooms, stacking tubes, picking up trash, etc. Thus, time management is crucial in ensuring proper utilization of time in the completion of these activities.
- Asset and Facility Oversight: Lifeguards have access to a variety of equipment, and it is their job to verify the workability of these tools every day. They must immediately report to the higher-ups in the case of defaulting or worn off tools.
- Work Ethic: A strong work ethic will take you to new heights. Lifeguards who stick to the work ethics lay good impressions on higher-ups and usually get promoted or accorded privileges.
3. Work opportunities for freelance lifeguard
A lifeguard can work wherever there is a body of water. You can work at settings like public pools, beach, swimming clubs, etc. You can take the academic route and become a trainer at various swimming or lifeguard training institutes.
Websites such as linkedin.com and freelance.com offer a great place for freelance lifeguards to look for the right work environment to work. These websites require the creation of a profile account, upload of a portfolio of skills and submission of smartly drafted applications. While submitting the applications, make sure to pay keen attention to the drafting of the proposal which states the reasons why you are best suited for the job.
4. Pay scale of a freelance lifeguard
The pay scale of a freelance lifeguard will vary depending on the educational qualification, experience, workplace, status of the employer, etc. On an average, a lifeguard earns between Rs. 15,000-20,000 and those who are highly experienced and work for big workplaces such as luxury hotels or beaches may earn around Rs. 50,000 or more. While submitting the application, you will most probably name the price, but the price is usually subject to negotiation, and thus, a rookie freelance will not have much impact in negotiations due to the relative lack of experience.