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State Park Lifeguard Swim Tests Testing for the Best!


Huntington State Beach Lifeguard
Headquarters seasonal lifeguards will enter the surfline to test their mettle in the turning waters off
the California coast. Ocean tests will be also conducted weekends throughout March at selected
State Beaches. Lake testing will be conducted in March, April and May.  The California State Park Lifeguard Program begins its annual swim tests this weekend for both its returning seasonal lifeguard staff and for the brave hopefuls trying out for a seasonal lifeguard job on a State Beach this summer, State Park officials said today.

'We strongly believe in testing our lifeguards in the very waters that they will be making
rescues in,' said Alex Peabody, State Parks' Aquatic Safety Specialist. 'Each year we require our
returning lifeguards to make a 1,000 yard open water swim in 20 minutes or less.'

Recruits who are trying out must not only make the 1,000 yard swim, but they are
immediately timed in a 200-yard run, 400-yard swim, and a 200-yard swim with a time limit of 10

If they make it through this competitive, physical testing process, recruits are then invited to
an oral interview. Ranked according to their interview, the top candidates earn a seat at the
California State Park Lifeguard Training Program. This is an eight-day, 80 hour program where
they are instructed in advanced first aid, resuscitation, rescue and emergency procedures. In
addition, every day they have to complete their 'daily vitamin' -- a physical test involving any
combination of running and swimming in the ocean.

'You might call it lifeguard bootcamp,' said Peabody. 'Our lifeguard Instructors are no
nonsense veterans who have no problem telling a 'rookie' that they don't have what it takes to be
an ocean lifeguard. There is simply too much at stake.'

According to Peabody, California State Lifeguards made more than 10,000 water rescues
along California State Park beaches, lakes, and reservoirs in calendar year 2004. Despite more
than 40 million visitors to the parks with developed lifeguard programs, there was not one
drowning in water where there was a State Park Lifeguard on-duty, he said. There are more than
85 million visitors to the California State Parks system each year. 'It is tragic that in waters where
there was no lifeguard service, there were 36 drownings last year in State Parks.' said Peabody.
'In the culture of lifeguards, even one drowning is one too many.

'That is why we train the way we do. We want the best to be out there protecting the public
on our beaches.' Peabody said.