How to Prevent Real Drownings, Not the Baywatch Kind

October 20, 2011 by John Oliver

A lifeguard's job is to sit around, twirl a whistle, and wait for a swimmer to splash and yell loudly as soon as they need to be rescued. Of course I don't think that, but I would imagine that is the way a large portion of society views guarding. And can you really blame them? If you look at the way Hollywood has dramatized drownings, it isn't difficult to reach the conclusion that lifeguarding is a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, spotting a distressed swimmer is no where near as easy as it looks on Baywatch. In order to prevent real life drownings , and not the kind we see on our TV screens, lifeguards need to do a few things really well. Lifeguards must be able to scan the water effectively, recognize a swimmer in distress, respond to that swimmer quickly, and then perform the necessary rescue techniques. All four of these extremely important skills are discussed in the two latest Lifeguard Commandment videos. Take a look!

Lifeguard Commandments: Scanning and Recognition






Sometimes Watching the Water Isn't Enough

The videos above highlight the importance of proper water scanning techniques for lifeguards. While we are confident that these techniques will go a long way in preventing most drownings, there are some circumstances that even the most vigilant scanning can't make up for.

If you haven't already, we encourage you to read about the woman that wasn't found until two days after drowning in a public swimming pool. This incredibly shocking story shows just how dangerous swimming can be when the proper precautions aren't taken. Pool operators had refused to close the pool even though the water was so cloudy that lifeguards couldn't see to the bottom.

Good lifeguards can overcome any number of hurdles, but at some point, the only way to prevent a real life drowning is to get the swimmers out of the water.

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