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6 Strategies to Effectively Recruit Lifeguards

Previously we posted about New Strategies to Recruit Lifeguards, but there are more than just those strategies to effectively recruit lifeguards! Here are some alternative strategies to help you recruit quality lifeguards.

Advertise the Attractive Aspects

Choosing what you advertise about your lifeguarding positions can be just as important as where you advertise. If not more important.

Take a moment when starting to advertise the positions to speak to your current staff. Ask them what things they like about their jobs, what things they think would entice people to work there. It’s a great way to gain insight into your organization and the way your staff sees it. In addition to giving you more insight into the job postings, it can give you insight into what keeps your staff working for you. Open lines of communication are a great start to recruiting, developing and keeping lifeguards.

Lifeguarding is a great job. It’s rewarding, and often serves to instill a sense of responsibility early on in the lives of young people. But when looking for jobs, rewarding, and sense of responsibility aren’t things young people look at. So, to effectively recruit lifeguards it can be important to highlight the aspects of the job that suit their needs.


Pay is an important factor in finding staff. We’ll go into more detail later. For now, remember that when recruiting for lifeguarding positions it is important to advertise the pay, especially if it is competitive with neighboring organizations. If it’s not, there are still ways to generate interest. By advertising opportunities for special pay (more on this below) that your organization has, lifeguard recruits could be interested in the higher rates. Plus, it won’t hurt your bottom line so much.


One of the biggest draws for people can be the flexibility in schedule that often accompanies working as a lifeguard. Chances are good your pools are open very early in the morning, and until fairly late into the night. Not to mention weekends! Given the likely busy schedules of your lifeguard recruits, the wide array of available shifts in itself is a great draw.

Personal Benefits

Yes, of course the personal benefits of a lifeguarding position can’t be ignored. One of the biggest is the skills and certifications required are excellent to have for their future, whether they stay in aquatics or not. But others often include:

  • Development of decision making skills
  • Opportunities for leadership experience
  • Experience in customer service
  • Team environment

Offer Additional Benefits

Every job makes money, and every job has personal benefits. Every part-time job doesn’t have the opportunity to offer what you and your organization may be able to offer: additional benefits.

Many organizations are more than just aquatics departments. Aquatics departments are often part of a larger city, or district, or organization. And those larger parts offer many other services. Whether you are part of a city who has countless different programs and departments, or part of a company that is more specifically aimed, the services you offer are a great way to recruit lifeguards.

There are many ways that your organization can aid you in recruiting lifeguards, and among them is offering benefits outside of the pool. Depending on whether or not you are part of a larger organization some of the following options will be key in recruiting a variety of lifeguards:

  • Facility Benefits - Providing your lifeguards with free access to your facilities (and not just the pool) can be great for recruitment. The more your organization offers, the wider range of staff you will interest.

  • Discounts - Offering your lifeguards discounts on classes (again not just aquatic classes) can be a great benefit. Whether it’s for fitness group classes, or group lessons for their children (if they have any) it is a great way to draw people toward your organization.

  • Passes - Are you truly only an aquatics organization? Don’t worry there are still benefits you can offer to your lifeguards other than facility benefits! You can also give staff buddy passes for their friends and family which can also serve as a way to attract further lifeguards.

Adjust the Pay

dollar sign image It may seem obvious, but pay can be an important factor of attracting not just lifeguards, but especially quality lifeguards.

Starting Salary

One pay-oriented strategy for recruiting lifeguards is to research the lifeguard pay rates of nearby organizations and offer a higher starting pay. Simple, and very effective. However, if you aren’t able to do this, don’t fret, there are other pay based strategies for recruiting lifeguards.

Pay Increases for Certifications

Another approach is to offer staff increased hourly pay rates if they obtain additional or higher certifications. By offering staff higher pay to become even more proficient than they already are is an excellent way to improve the quality of your staff.

Advertise Special Pay

Does your organization offer group swim lessons? Private lessons? Private after hours pool rentals? Host birthday parties? Many organizations offer staff pay incentives to perform these responsibilities. Staff are more willing to keep their lower paying lifeguarding hours, if they get rewarded with time and a half for rentals!

Coordinate with Neighboring Organization

handshake picture

Have you spoken to any other organizations in the aquatics industry lately? If you’re having problems staffing, it’s likely those around you are too. Staffing lifeguards is a national problem right now.

With the Affordable Care Act in place many organizations are having to limit the number of hours part time staff can work, rather than deal with the cost of providing health benefits.

Staff however, still need more hours and are turning to second jobs to supplement their incomes, and maintain their number of hours. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to recruit certified, motivated lifeguards.

It may prove effective to recruit lifeguards from other organizations. Not to steal them away from them, but to offer the opportunity to work for you as well. Sharing staff has proven effective already for several districts.

A good start is to simply contact the aquatics department of neighboring organizations and discuss the needs you both have. Hopefully you can develop an employee share, or training strategy that works for you both.

The benefits of sharing staff can’t be ignored. By referring staff back and forth between organizations everyone benefits. Staff get more hours, and the organizations get more staff that are qualified.

Recruit Lifeguards through the Internet

Social media is a powerful resource, but it isn’t the only game in town for reaching your potential new lifeguards. There are several other online resources that, when utilized properly, will help you find new lifeguards.

Some other websites that could help you find lifeguards are, Craigslist, Indeed, and your local parks and recreation association. Each has different benefits so it can be best to utilize all of them simultaneously! Below are some of the benefits for each.


  • Commonly used - Craigslist is commonly used for all sorts of things, with job postings being one of their main categories.

  • Cost - Varies per state but is typically less than $50 per post.

  • No knowledge necessary - Craigslist, unlike local associations, provides the benefit of not requiring knowledge about the Aquatics industry in order to access the job postings.


  • Job suggestion - Not only does indeed list your job posting, but it will even send it out to potential hires who’s other applications or resume is similar to your posting.

  • Company reviews - Indeed gives people the opportunity to rate the companies they list, so your organization's great reputation will help you find quality lifeguards.

  • Free for applicants - Indeed is free to use for all applicants.

  • Free for employers - Indeed is free for you to post your job openings, or you can pay a premium to sponsor your postings to the top.

  • Widely used - Indeed is extremely well known, and commonly utilized in job searches of all kinds.

Local Parks and Rec. Associations:

  • Free Listings - Posting job openings is free.

  • Most qualified candidates - As the associations are likely known primarily to the aquatics professionals you will get people who have experience.

  • Most quality candidates - Other organizations may recommend candidates through these associations which will likely provide quality candidates.

Utilize Feeder Programs

The American Red Cross has Junior Lifeguard courses that you can run with the assistance of a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor or Lifeguard Instructor.

These courses can be an excellent way to effectively recruit lifeguards. If you have a group, or private swim lessons program, you can generate interest in becoming a lifeguard from the youth in your community. Then, by offering the Junior Lifeguarding courses regularly you can turn that interest into committed, quality staff.

By building a candidate pool that has come up through your feeder programs, you are creating a sense of ownership from the community. That ownership and interest can generate the most committed employees.

There are countless strategies you can use to help you recruit lifeguards, and to make sure they are the most qualified, quality and committed employees possible. Whatever your needs, and the needs of your neighboring organizations, there are always solutions that benefit everyone and the community as a whole. Try these out, and you’re sure to get a quality candidate in the guard stand!

Have any other strategies we haven’t touched on? Have some of these strategies worked for you? Let us know!

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