GLL, the UK’s largest swimming pool operator is hoping that a campaign to recruit older people will help tackle a national shortage of lifeguards and expects the new Baywatch movie (released 29th May 2017) to pique interest in the role.

With up to 20% of its lifeguarding roles unfilled and around 90 current vacancies, GLL also hopes the initiative will counter common misconceptions around lifeguarding and encourage a wider demographic to apply.

Gerry Kendrick, Head of HR Operational Services at GLL says:  “You don’t need to be body beautiful to save lives, nor do you need to be in your teens or twenties.  Of course a good level of fitness and swimming ability is key, but we currently employ around 40 lifeguards who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s and they are all valued and well respected members of our business.

One example is David Hall, 74 years old, from Witney in Oxfordshire.  With more than 20 years lifeguarding experience, David continues to compete in swimming at an elite level.  In 2013 he was the Great Britain Masters (70-74yrs) national champion in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Butterfly and hopes to reclaim his titles in Aberdeen later this year.  To older people considering a lifeguarding role David says: ”Get back in the pool!  It might seem hard and a big step initially, but once you’re into it, lifeguarding is hugely rewarding, very social and a great way to keep fit.”

Although a municipal swimming pool may not have quite the allure of Miami Beach, the role has many benefits.  It can be a stepping stone to a career pathway within the leisure industry, or offer flexible working hours that are ideal for working parents or the semi-retired, who are perhaps looking to supplement a pension.

The national lifeguard shortage can be attributed to a number of factors as Gerry Kendrick explains: “A decline in school swimming means there are less people with the necessary skills to take on the roles.  Secondly, these are jobs that are often not considered long-term career options.  Thirdly, with the closure of public swimming pools across the UK over recent decades, aquatics-related jobs are often less visible.

Martin Symcox from the Royal Life Saving Society UK adds: Becoming a lifeguard is more than a just a job and earning money; you gain life-long skills which are useful both on poolside and outside a working environment. Being a lifeguard provides you with skills which are transferable for any career path you may take. Due to the responsible nature of the role, you will improve your confidence, whilst gaining valuable communication skills and improve your ability to work as part of a team. Lifeguarding is accessible to all ages and backgrounds and we support GLL in their drive to recruit a wider demographic of employees into their workforce.”

GLL will be hosting two national lifeguard recruitment days on 3rd June 2017 at the iconic London Aquatics Centre, on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in Stratford East London and at the Windrush Leisure Centre, in Witney, West Oxfordshire.

For further information and an application form visit and search for ‘summer lifeguards. David Hasselhof (64 years) is welcome to apply!