Published: 18 January 2022

James Maginn works as a lifeguard in London and completed his NPLQ with RLSS UK. James has been working as a lifeguard for three years and recently spoke to us about the importance of his job and how raising awareness of the importance of water safety with parents is vital.

In December 2021, James was on duty at the indoor swimming pool and saw a young girl seemingly in trouble in the water as the current near the rapids in the pool tried to drag her under. James signaled to the girl, asking if she was OK and after a shake of the head, he grabbed the reach pole to assist the young girl. At this point the girl was clinging to a high-sided wall in the pool, with the armbands she was wearing hindering her attempt to hang on as they pushed her away from the side. The young girl couldn’t allow herself to let go of the wall to reach for the grab pole due to fear, and James took the decision to jump in to help rescue the girl.

The girl’s family were on the edge of the pool but had not seen the young girl get into trouble. James wanted to highlight that even though a pool may have a lifeguard, young children should always be accompanied in the pool, especially when the child requires a buoyancy aid such as armbands or a vest as they do not always prevent incidents from occurring.

James commented, “Although armbands allow a child to learn to swim, equipment like this can become dangerous quickly if not used in the correct way or under the appropriate supervision.”

Without lifeguards like James, situations like this one could end up as a completely different story.

RLSS UK offers lots of water safety advice. Advice for parents and families can be found in the water safety resources tab.

RLSS UK believes that by giving everyone access to resources and knowledge around water safety, everyone can enjoy being in and around water. RLSS UK encourages parents to ensure their children have lifesaving skills so they know what to do if they or someone they know found themselves in difficulty in the water. You can search for a lifesaving club near you on the RLSS UK website.

If you were inspired by James, why not become a Lifeguard yourself? Visit our Become a Lifeguard page for more information.