Being a lifeguard is no joke. Teenagers may apply to be a lifeguard once they reach the sweet age of 15 to get some extra time in the sun, but things get shady once someone's life is in actual danger.
Although being a lifeguard at a pool and the beach has the same job description, both jobs deal with different circumstances. Lifeguards at pools need to worry about height requirements for slides, kids getting too confident on the diving boards, and people constantly running by the pool — even though there are multiple signs that clearly state "no running by the pool."
For a beach lifeguard, however, the job is a tad more intense. They're dealing with the vast ocean that has a mind of its own, not a wave-free pool. Beach lifeguards need to worry about marine life, riptides, the weather changing, wave height, and trying not to trip in the holes that kids are constantly digging. Now, lifeguards won't save a person every day they're on the job, but they do their best to keep everyone in line, no matter how annoying and redundant it may get. Here are 10 things people do on beaches that life guards can't stand.
10 WHEN PEOPLE 'FAKE' DROWN
Kids pretend to drown all the time. While playing with each other, they create imaginary games. Maybe one kid pretends to drown while the other kid saves them, or perhaps one kid screams "help, help, help!" while their friend pretends they can't hear... The list goes on and on. Kids are are creative thinkers, after all.
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The problem with these kinds of games is obvious: lifeguards aren't always sure if a kid is, in fact, drowning, or if they're just playing. When the ocean is packed with people, it can be hard to concentrate on everything else when kids are pretending to drown.
9 DIGGING DEEP HOLES IN THE BEACH
Lifeguards typically do rotations every couple of hours. It's kind of like a domino effect. One lifeguard jogs down to the next stand, making that particular lifeguard jog to the next stand to switch places. This brings a change of scenery and gets the guards moving around a bit.
However, it's hard for a lifeguard to sprint to the next stand when there's a ton of different holes dug in the sand. Likewise, if a guard needs to ride a four-wheeler down the beach, it can be super hard not to crash into a hole if they don't see it right away.
8 WHEN KIDS YELL 'SHARK' WHILE PLAYING
Just like they pretend to drown, kids will pretend to see a shark. Although the thought of a shark attack on a beach is terrifying, kids still somehow get a kick out of this game and continue to play it.
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The Jaws theme song can be heard throughout the ocean while kids giggle and scream in "fear." The problem, of course, is that lifeguards do their best to keep a lookout for fins and larger ocean-life, so if they hear someone screaming shark, it's normal to get anxious!
7 THE BEACH IS NOT A TIME TO IGNORE YOUR KID
Most parents adore bringing their kids to the beach because it's the perfect place to tucker out your kids. They'll be swimming, boogie-boarding, digging holes, chasing seagulls... it's enough to make anyone tired! While lifeguards have nothing against kids, they do have a problem with parents who let their kids run wild with zero supervision.
One lifeguard cannot keep an eye on your wild and free child while also keeping an eye out on the entire ocean. There would be fewer accidents if parents kept a larger eye on their kids.
6 WHEN SOMEONE FLIRTS WITH THEM
Lifeguards understand the urge to talk to them. Their job isn't necessarily normal and sometimes they see things that no one else would be able to see, which makes beach-goers curious.
Beach lifeguards don't mind chit-chat here and there during their shift, but what they don't encourage is long, meaningful conversations or someone trying to flirt with them. While flattered, they have a serious job to do. If you want to speak to them, ask when their shift's over.
5 THERE'S 'NO SWIMMING' FLAGS FOR A REASON
Every beach has different color flags to distinguish swimmable areas. They literally cannot make it any easier. Ther is usually a red flag with a giant X going across a stick-figure swimming. These flags are typically near rocky areas or docks; the last thing a guard needs is for a wave to sweep a person towards the rocks!
Though the flags seem like a no-brainer, many people get swept over by the tide or test their luck by going in anyway. This will result in the lifeguard blowing their whistle or honking a horn to get the swimmer's attention (while also letting out a deep sigh).
4 QUESTION THEIR REASONING FOR NO SWIMMING
Depending on the weather, some beaches won't let people in the water at all. If the clouds are forming a peculiar shape, that could mean a bad storm is on its way. Likewise, if its hurricane season, the water may be rougher than usual, resulting in people only being able to go in to their knees.
Regardless of the reason (high tide, rip tides, lightening, shark sighting...), there are still some people who continue to question their authority. When it comes to safety, don't test a lifeguard.
3 THEY CAN'T SAVE WHAT THEY CAN'T SEE
As a parent, it's important to remember that lifeguards can't save what they can't see. Many lifeguards told Reddit that it upsets them when parents choose to keep walking down the beach where there aren't lifeguards on duty so their kids can play without being reprimanded.
The problem with this, of course, is who's going to save their kids when a wave knocks them over or the tide pulls them in?! Give yourself and your family the best chance at being saved by setting up shop by a lifeguard stand.
2 THERE ARE RIP-TIDE WARNING SIGNS FOR A REASON
The ocean is incredibly dangerous (hence the lifeguards). What seemed like a small wave is enough to suck someone in with little knowledge of relief. The Active Times reminds parents to have a talk with their kids before venturing out into the ocean. Not to mention there are signs on the boardwalks describing what tides are and how to escape one if ever stuck.
Instead of fighting against the current, swim with it until you get to a breaking point to get closer to land.
1 PLAYING BALL IN FRONT OF THE LIFEGUARD STAND
The beach is there to be enjoyed, but that's not to say it's not distracting to lifeguards when father and son decide to play ball right in front of the stand. According to one lifeguard on Reddit, what's even more distracting is when parents play to their fullest potential... in a way that shows off to other beach-goers and lifeguards.
News flash: lifeguards are sitting in the stand to keep an eye on people swimming, not your quarterback skills.