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The Secret to Getting High-Quality Lifeguard Staffing Services

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

As a seasoned manager or owner of a commercial pool facility, such as a country club, yacht club, or a community recreation center, securing high-quality lifeguard staffing services is fundamental to ensuring the safety of your patrons. This is an essential undertaking, and its complexity extends beyond merely hiring strong swimmers. Having navigated the vast seas of this industry for decades as the owner of a lifeguard staffing company, my goal with this article is to illuminate the intricacies of securing the best lifeguard staffing services and guide you on this crucial journey.

Welcome Aboard

Author, Steve Grella, is the Founder and CEO of Lifeguard LI, a premier lifeguard staffing/management company in New York and the tri-state area.

The lifeguard staffing sphere is multifaceted, and it involves a great deal more than a proficient swimmer stationed at the edge of your pool. A reputable service provides a team of well-rounded professionals equipped with a range of skills. Lifeguards are certified first responders, educators teaching safety protocols, and most importantly, they are vigilant observers who ensure every patron's safety.

Over the years, I've been witness to numerous situations underscoring the indispensable nature of professional lifeguard staffing. For instance, during a crowded summer day at a popular club's pool, a lifeguard's keen eye and rapid response saved a young swimmer who'd ventured too far into the deep end.

In another incident at a community recreational facility, our lifeguard on duty promptly recognized the signs of a heart attack in a swimmer, administered first aid, and initiated emergency procedures, potentially saving a life. These incidents reiterate the unmatched value that top-tier lifeguard staffing services bring to any commercial pool setting.

However, it's crucial to understand that not all lifeguard staffing services are equal, and there can be significant differences in quality. This raises the critical question: how can you ensure the safety of your facility and its patrons is in the hands of reliable, competent professionals?

Understanding Lifeguard Staffing Services

Professional lifeguard staffing services offer a wealth of benefits that extend beyond the scope of safety and supervision. They bring with them a unique combination of professional skills and industry-specific knowledge that can be invaluable in enhancing the overall operation of your pool facility.

Ongoing Training and Development

One lesser-known yet vital aspect that these services cater to is the ongoing training and development of their staff. Lifeguarding isn't a static profession. Techniques evolve, new equipment is developed, and even the regulations and guidelines that govern aquatic safety may be updated.

Quality lifeguard staffing services stay abreast of these changes and ensure that their lifeguards receive regular training and updates. This commitment to ongoing professional development ensures that your facility is always in line with the latest best practices in aquatic safety.

Risk Management and Compliance

The value of professional lifeguard staffing services extends into the realm of risk management as well. These services are knowledgeable about insurance requirements and liability issues related to aquatic facilities. They can provide guidance on these complex matters, helping you mitigate risks and stay compliant with legal and insurance stipulations.

This added layer of risk management can provide significant peace of mind.

Quality Service and Interaction

Quality services also understand the importance of a positive swimming environment and how lifeguard interactions contribute to that. Lifeguards aren't just safety personnel; they are also customer service representatives of sorts. They interact with your patrons, answer their questions, and assist with their needs. Quality lifeguard staffing services ensure their personnel are well-versed in customer service principles and are capable of maintaining a friendly, respectful, and professional environment.

Additional Services and Comprehensive Solutions

Lastly, many professional lifeguard staffing services offer additional services such as pool maintenance, equipment checks, and water quality testing. These tasks are integral to the smooth operation of your pool facility but can be time-consuming and require specific expertise.

By offering these additional services, a professional lifeguard staffing service can provide a comprehensive solution for your pool management needs.

staff meeting

Importance of High-Quality Lifeguard Staffing Services

The quality of your lifeguard staffing service directly impacts the safety and well-being of your facility's patrons. Settling for low-tier lifeguard services might seem cost-effective in the short term but can harbor substantial risks. Inadequate training and lack of experience can lead to serious oversights, ineffective emergency responses, and even failures in administering proper first aid.

High-quality lifeguard staffing services, on the other hand, provide a wealth of benefits that ensure not only the safety of your patrons but also contribute to the overall reputation and success of your facility.

Adherence to Standards and Guidelines

One lesser-known advantage of high-quality services is their adherence to industry standards and guidelines. This includes regular drills to test the readiness of lifeguards, rigorous training to keep their skills sharp, and thorough reviews of procedures to ensure they align with the latest safety standards. By doing so, they guarantee that their team is always ready to respond effectively in any given situation.

Comprehensive Approach to Pool Management

A second factor that distinguishes high-quality services is their comprehensive approach to pool management. Besides lifeguarding, they often offer a range of additional services such as pool maintenance, water quality testing, and equipment inspections. These tasks require specific expertise and can be time-consuming, and having them managed by your lifeguard staffing service can streamline your facility's operations and ensure these crucial aspects are not neglected.

Moreover, quality services invest in their staff, providing ongoing training and professional development opportunities. This ensures that their lifeguards are not just maintaining their skills, but continually improving and staying up-to-date with advancements in rescue techniques, first aid procedures, and industry standards.

Tailored Solutions for Different Facilities

A quality service will also understand the unique requirements of your facility and provide tailored solutions. Different facilities have different needs: a water park may require lifeguards with specific training in water slide safety, while a beach club might need lifeguards skilled in open water rescues. A high-quality service will assess your needs and provide appropriately trained staff.

Peace of Mind and Reputation Enhancement

Finally, a high-quality lifeguard staffing service provides peace of mind, knowing that you have a team of professionals at hand ready to ensure the safety and well-being of your patrons. This peace of mind extends to your facility's users, too, who can enjoy their time knowing they are in safe hands.

In essence, cost-effectiveness should never come at the expense of safety. Choosing a high-quality lifeguard staffing service not only mitigates risks but also enhances your facility's reputation for safety and professionalism. By understanding these benefits, you can make an informed decision that prioritizes the safety, efficiency, and reputation of your facility.

Key Components of High-Quality Lifeguard Staffing Services

Securing a high-quality lifeguard staffing service involves understanding and recognizing the key components that constitute such a service. Here are the primary factors that you should consider:

CPR training

Training and Certification

The cornerstone of a high-quality lifeguard service lies in the training and certification of its lifeguards. Lifeguards should hold valid certifications from reputable organizations such as the American Red Cross or the United States Lifesaving Association. These certifications indicate that the lifeguards have undergone rigorous training and demonstrated proficiency in water rescue techniques, first aid, and CPR.

Staff Experience

The experience of lifeguards is another crucial element to consider. Experienced lifeguards bring a wealth of practical knowledge and understanding to their roles. They can quickly identify potential risks and respond effectively to emergencies. Lifeguards who have consistently worked at the same location also foster a sense of familiarity with the facility's layout, regular patrons, and unique characteristics, further enhancing safety.

Staff-to-Swimmer Ratios

A high-quality lifeguard staffing service will understand and adhere to appropriate staff-to-swimmer ratios. Overcrowding the pool area with too many swimmers per lifeguard can stretch the lifeguard's supervision capabilities and lead to potential oversights. Maintaining a proper ratio is crucial to ensuring vigilant supervision and mitigating risks.

Effective Scheduling Systems


Quality lifeguard services employ robust and efficient systems for managing and scheduling their lifeguards. A well-structured system ensures continuous supervision, coordinates the handover between different shifts, and prevents lifeguard fatigue by providing adequate rest periods. This contributes to a safer and more efficient pool environment.

Competence in Equipment Usage

Finally, a high-quality lifeguard staffing service will ensure that its staff is proficient in using the necessary first aid and rescue equipment. This includes rescue tubes, first aid kits, backboards, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Regular training and drills using this equipment can be the difference between life and death in emergency situations.


Beyond Certifications: Evaluating the Lifeguard’s Character

While training and certifications form the backbone of a lifeguard's competence, they only tell part of the story. A lifeguard's personal attributes - their character, if you will - are equally important in ensuring they perform their duties effectively.

These attributes can often be the differentiating factor between a good lifeguard and a great one. Here are some key qualities that high-quality lifeguard staffing services look for:


Responsibility is paramount in a lifeguard. They are entrusted with the safety of others and must exhibit a high level of accountability in their role. This responsibility extends beyond active supervision of swimmers to include maintenance of rescue equipment, adherence to safety procedures, and reporting any potential risks or issues.


The ability to remain alert and focused, even during long shifts or periods of inactivity, is crucial for a lifeguard. Vigilance enables lifeguards to spot early signs of distress or danger, allowing for quick intervention and possibly averting serious incidents.


Lifeguards are the face of your aquatic facility. They interact with your patrons and represent your establishment. Therefore, they should conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism. This includes courteous communication, prompt response to queries or concerns, and adherence to the rules and guidelines of your facility.

Communication Skills

Good communication is essential in a lifeguard's role. They should be able to provide clear instructions, respond to questions effectively, and interact professionally with patrons of all ages. In emergency situations, the ability to communicate quickly and effectively with other lifeguards, facility staff, and emergency services can be vital.

High-quality lifeguard staffing services understand the importance of these personal attributes and take measures to assess them during their hiring process.

This often includes behavioral interviews, situational judgement tests, and thorough reference checks. Some companies even use personality assessments to gauge an applicant's suitability for the role.

When you're selecting a lifeguard staffing service, don't hesitate to ask about their hiring process and how they evaluate these personal attributes. A company that invests in recruiting and developing lifeguards with strong personal characteristics is a company committed to providing the highest level of service.

Remember, a lifeguard is much more than a pair of watchful eyes on the pool deck. They are a vital component of your facility's operation, its reputation, and the safety and enjoyment of your patrons. Understanding this, and knowing what to look for, will help you secure a high-quality lifeguard staffing service that meets and exceeds your expectations.

girls during summer at the lake

The Impact of Seasonality

The demand for lifeguard staffing services fluctuates throughout the year, typically peaking in the warmer months when swimming activity is at its highest. This seasonal demand can pose challenges, but also opportunities, for pool facility managers. A high-quality lifeguard staffing service will have strategies in place to handle these seasonal shifts effectively. Here's an inside look at how they do it:

Forecasting Demand

Quality lifeguard staffing services begin their preparation well in advance of the peak season. They forecast the demand for their services based on factors such as historical data, the size and type of their client facilities, and expected patron activity levels. This forecast helps them plan their recruitment, training, and scheduling activities effectively.

Seasonal Recruitment

In anticipation of the peak season, these services ramp up their recruitment efforts. They reach out to schools, colleges, and local communities to attract potential candidates. Many also rehire reliable lifeguards from previous seasons, which offers added benefits of experienced staff and continuity.

Training and Certification

Once the hiring process is complete, the new recruits undergo rigorous training programs to obtain necessary certifications. Additionally, returning lifeguards often participate in refresher courses to sharpen their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest safety protocols.

Effective Scheduling

During peak periods, ensuring adequate lifeguard coverage throughout the day can be a complex task. Quality services use effective scheduling systems to manage this, taking into account factors such as the lifeguard's availability, facility requirements, and rest periods to prevent fatigue.

Maintaining Quality

Despite the increased demand, high-quality services never compromise on the quality of their lifeguards. They maintain strict hiring standards and ensure all their lifeguards, whether seasonal or regular, are fully certified and trained.

When you're selecting a lifeguard staffing service, ask about their strategies for handling seasonal demand. How do they forecast demand? What are their recruitment strategies? How do they manage scheduling during peak periods? Their answers will provide valuable insights into their ability to provide reliable, high-quality service throughout the year.

Remember, the best lifeguard staffing services not only understand the challenges posed by seasonality, but they embrace it, using effective strategies to ensure they consistently deliver top-notch service, no matter the season. The secret lies in their preparation, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to quality and safety.


The Secret to Getting High-Quality Lifeguard Staffing Services

Identifying and hiring high-quality lifeguard staffing services involves more than knowing what to look for. Consider companies with a robust reputation and positive reviews. Be cautious if a company is hesitant to provide references or share their success stories.

When assessing a service, ask about their hiring process, required certifications, staff-to-swimmer ratios, and how they manage and schedule their lifeguards. A lack of transparency or reluctance to provide this information could indicate subpar service.

Always verify a company's credentials and check references. A legitimate service will readily provide these, and it can save you from potential dissatisfaction or mishaps.

High-quality services invest in continuous training and staff development. Regular training sessions allow lifeguards to keep their skills sharp and stay updated on the latest rescue techniques and safety protocols.

Lastly, make sure the service complies with local regulations regarding pool safety and lifeguard qualifications. A high-quality service is knowledgeable about these regulations and ensures compliance, reflecting their commitment to maintaining high standards.

Tips and Advice From Personal Experience

As someone who's been entrenched in the lifeguard staffing industry for many years, I've accumulated a wealth of knowledge and insights that I'd like to share with you. These are lessons drawn from real experiences and I believe they can guide you in making informed decisions when it comes to choosing a lifeguard staffing service.

no lifeguard on duty sign

Safety Should Be the Top Priority

When it comes to choosing a lifeguard staffing service, safety should always be the top priority. This is non-negotiable. Lifeguards are on the frontline of your facility's safety, and their competence can mean the difference between a minor incident and a tragic outcome. Always opt for services that prioritize lifeguard certifications, ongoing training, and adhering to appropriate staff-to-swimmer ratios.

Investment in Quality Pays Off

Selecting a lifeguard staffing service based on cost alone can be a short-sighted approach. Yes, budget constraints are a reality for most businesses. However, when it comes to safety and quality, the investment truly pays off. The return comes in the form of a safe and enjoyable environment for your patrons, peace of mind for you and your team, and an enhanced reputation for your facility.

Reliability Matters

A lifeguard staffing service should be reliable and able to provide consistent service. This includes everything from honoring their commitments to providing lifeguards as per the agreed schedule, to being responsive to your requests or concerns. Look for companies that have a robust management system and a track record of reliability.

team celebration

Communication is Key

Effective communication between the facility management and the lifeguard staffing service is critical. The company you choose should not just provide lifeguards, but should also serve as a partner in ensuring your facility's safety. They should be proactive in keeping you informed about any changes or concerns, and responsive to your queries or feedback.

Adaptability to Your Needs

Every facility is unique, and the lifeguard staffing service you choose should recognize this. Whether it's varying patron demographics, fluctuating visitor numbers, or specific operating hours, your staffing service should be able to adapt to your specific needs. Services that show flexibility and a willingness to tailor their offerings to your needs are often the best choice.

These insights, gleaned from years of experience in the lifeguard staffing industry, are not commonly discussed, but can make a profound difference when choosing the right service for your facility. It's about going beyond the obvious, asking the right questions, and understanding what truly matters when it comes to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of your patrons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What are the key components of a high-quality lifeguard staffing service?

A1: Key components include proper training and certification, staff experience, adherence to staff-to-swimmer ratios, effective scheduling systems, and competence in equipment usage.

Q2: How do I evaluate a lifeguard's character beyond certifications?

A2: Look for personal attributes such as responsibility, vigilance, professionalism, and communication skills. High-quality services often assess these qualities through behavioral interviews, situational judgment tests, and reference checks.

Q3: How do lifeguard staffing services handle seasonal demand?

A3: Quality services prepare for seasonal shifts by forecasting demand, ramping up recruitment, providing training and certifications, employing effective scheduling, and maintaining quality standards.

Q4: What should I consider when choosing a lifeguard staffing service?

A4: Consider the company's reputation, transparency in their hiring process, continuous training, compliance with local regulations, and their commitment to safety, quality, and reliability.

Q5: What additional services do professional lifeguard staffing services offer?

A5: Many offer additional services such as pool maintenance, equipment checks, water

quality testing, and more, providing a comprehensive solution for pool management needs.

Q6: How do high-quality lifeguard staffing services ensure adherence to industry standards?

A6: They conduct regular drills, rigorous training, and thorough reviews of procedures to align with the latest safety standards, ensuring their team is always ready to respond effectively.

Q7: Why is ongoing training and development important for lifeguards?

A7: Lifeguarding is not a static profession. Ongoing training ensures lifeguards stay up-to-date with evolving techniques, new equipment, and updated regulations and guidelines.

Q8: How do lifeguard staffing services contribute to risk management?

A8: They provide knowledge about insurance requirements and liability issues related to aquatic facilities, offering guidance to mitigate risks and stay compliant with legal and insurance stipulations.

Q9: What role do lifeguards play in customer service?

A9: Lifeguards are also customer service representatives, interacting with patrons, answering questions, and assisting with needs. Quality services ensure lifeguards are well-versed in customer service principles.

If you're looking for a high-quality, reliable lifeguard staffing service, Lifeguard LI should be at the top of your list. Our commitment to safety, professionalism, and customer service is truly second to none. Check out our pool management and lifeguard staffing services page for more information on our services and to get in touch with our team.


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Hey, I'm Steve Grella, founder of Lifeguard LI. It is my mission to teach every capable person CPR and lifesaving skills. My only question is, do you have what it takes to save a life?


About Our Founder

Steve Grella is a father of two young boys. He is a Police Detective, EMT, lifeguard trainer and swim instructor, who brings over 20 years of knowledge and expertise in safety and service. He has dedicated his life to educating students in vital lifesaving training and now strives to provide expert resources to arm you with the skills and training to one day save a life if called upon.

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