Published: 2 February 2022

Rewarding, flexible, and the chance to make a difference are just some of the reasons why lifeguards love their job, according to a new survey by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).

More than 3,000 lifeguards from across the UK took part in the survey, giving a unique insight into what the nation’s lifeguarding community thinks about the job.

Proud to know how to save lives

Attracting an almost equal number of male and female respondents - the survey findings show that lifeguarding is a hugely satisfying occupation. Trained in First Aid, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and pool rescue, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of lifeguards told us they felt proud to know how to save a person’s life, and 60 per cent gained satisfaction from being part of a highly respected profession.

“It is one of the best things I've done – I now know how to help people and save a life.”

Flexible shifts

Lifeguards commonly operate as part of a team to keep people safe in and around the water. Working together builds trust and camaraderie, which ultimately makes the role more enjoyable. They are also frequently communicating with the public, and it is this social interaction that almost 70 per cent of lifeguards say they enjoy most about the role.

The ability to work part-time, full-time, or on a casual basis to fit around other commitments, such as studying or doing the school run, is particularly valued by lifeguards. Almost 50 per cent of respondents told us that the flexibility of shifts was the key benefit of working as a lifeguard. This flexibility means the role is ideal for people of all ages, from students to parents to older adults, whether they want a summer job or a part-time position. With a nationally recognised qualification like our National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), you can work across the UK and even abroad.

“Go for it! It is a rewarding and fulfilling job.”

No two days are the same…

The variety of duties that being a lifeguard entails is another attraction of the job for 44 per cent of respondents. Working with the public means that no two days are the same. And when it comes to the role itself, lifeguards need to be able to deal with people of all ages and abilities, spot potential dangers, make quick decisions and take charge of situations to ensure the safety and welfare of people enjoying the water.

“It’s the best thing you’ll ever do in life.”

Transferrable skills

As so many leading leisure professionals will testify, lifeguarding is a brilliant springboard for a career in the sport and leisure industry and even beyond. This explains why a third of respondents (32 per cent) say the development opportunities offered by the role are what they enjoy most about being a lifeguard.

From communication, leadership, and responsibility to working as part of a team, being a lifeguard can develop many critical and transferrable skills. We are aware of many successful and even famous people who boast a lifeguard job on their CV! Our #IStartedAsALifeguard gives a flavour of where being a lifeguard can lead.  

Our NPLQ is recognised widely as the leading professional qualification for lifeguarding. It is an excellent starting point for a career in the sport and leisure sector, equipping you with skills that will last a lifetime.

Find out about our National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)

Find out about our National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ)

Find out about our Open Water Lifeguard Qualification (OWL)