If you haven't already done so, please check out the latest installment in our Lifeguard Commandment video series on YouTube.
Inform other lifeguards and supervisors of weak or problematic swimmers.
With only a few short minutes to present a topic, some of our Lifeguard Commandment Videos may ultimately present more questions than answers. Fortunately, we have this blog and the collective wisdom of an entire staff of aquatic safety experts from West Bend.
Some of the questions you may have after watching "Lifeguard Commandments: Constant Communication" may include:
- How can I make the most of swim testing young swimmers?
- Should I swim test all swimmers, or only minors?
- What constitutes a "swimmer of concern"?
- What is the most effective way to share information during a lifeguard rotation or shift change?
- What communication techniques work for other lifeguard crews?
Swim testing is an important first step in identifying weak and problematic swimmers. Take a look at our Aquatics Best Practices Guide for West Bend's view on all things aquatics. Swim testing policies and procedures are available under the "Supervision" section.
As always, if you have any questions please leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Swimmers of Concern
There is no standard definition for a "swimmer of concern". Different pools will have different definitions for swimmers of concern. Here are some things a lifeguard may choose to look for:
- Young male swimmers: Statisitics show that young boys greatly overestimate their own swimming abilities. A young boy is much more likely to put themselves in a comprising situation than a young girl.
- Breath holders: Breath holding can quickly lead to Shallow Water Blackout (video). No swimmers - regardless of age, swimming ability, physical fitness, etc. - should be allowed to hold their breath.
- Undersized swimmers: Restricting weak swimmers to the shallow end of the pool is an effective way to reduce aquatic emergencies, but if a swimmer can't reach the bottom of the pool floor even in the shallow end, they are at increased risk of drowning. Undersized and weak swimmers should be required to be in the water with an adult at all times.
This is only a small sample of what may be considered to be "swimmers of concern". How does your lifeguarding staff define a swimmer of concern?
Lifeguard rotations are an important step in keeping guards focused and alert. If done improperly, however, a lifeguard rotation can be the perfect opportunity for a swimmer to slip underwater undetected. Take a look at the 5 Parts of a Safe Lifeguard Rotation.
Successful Communication Techniques
We want to hear from you on this one! What techniques are used at your pool to keep guards in the loop? How do lifeguards share information about weak or problematic swimmers? Let us know if the comments section below!