Beach lifeguard courses – the inside bits

Beach lifeguard training – have you got what it takes?
Not only does this course get you qualified to work as a beach lifeguard in Ireland and internationally – it gives you the knowledge of what are your limitations and ability in the water. The pre entry requirements for the beach lifeguard course may seem daunting but with some simple advice from a good swim coach in your local pool and setting a training regime – You will succeed.

The facts on our pre entry requirements – It is crucial that you come to the course prepared, with this in mind here are the pre entry requirements to come on a course with Atlantic coast lifeguards

  • Swim 400metres front crawl, non stop in under 7 min 30 sec. This is done in a swimming pool of 25metres in length. You can wear googles, you can tumble turn or push and glide and is a fitness test of normal swimming. 
  • Be able to sprint run 400metres on a beach
  • Be able to swim Side stroke and inverted breaststroke 
  • Submerge under the water to at least 2metres – this is in case a casualty has sunk before you arrive to them
  • Have surfed a number of times – We do a lot on rescue boards so having prior knowledge on how to paddle and get through waves is crucial for a beach lifeguard.
  • Be over 16 – this course is not only physically demanding – its mentally demanding so a mature head is required. 

How come you can become qualified in 6 days?
The beach lifeguard course is 46 hours in duration and is broken down into 6 intensive days over 2 weekends or in a 6 day row.
Most people ask how we can do a beach lifeguard in 6 days as some providers do it over a couple of years – well its in the maths.

– Imagine 1 day a week for 10 weeks at a couple hours per week, thats only 20 hrs.This might be done twice. With this type of learning by week 6, candidates have forgotten about some of the criteria in week one and skills will have deteriorated. Along with this candidates sometimes miss some of the weeks and training has to be redone and takes longer.

– With our intensive training – candidates are immersed into the systems of a working lifeguard with a group of peers. For 6 days all they see, do, talk about is the role of the lifeguard. Every day we are in the classroom, on the beach and in the pool learning from our mistakes, learning from each other and becoming focused on honing our skills.
 – How we can do this? well it is ensuring each candidate that comes on the course is already fit and able – it is then our job to educate and train.

How do we teach the courses?
We are very proud of our courses – We have blended learning of lectures, beach training and pool training.

  1. We engage with our candidates
  2. We only teach what is relevant to the course
  3. No additional material other than what is in the course manual is taught
  4. We get in the water and are able verbalise and demonstrate what is needed
  5. We teach using the most up to date manual and training in the world at this time.
  6. Each day we talk to each candidate individually and explain what is required of them the next day
  7. Each aspect in practical training is streamlined to make it easier to learn
  8. Our equipment is plentiful and maintained to a high standard.
  9. We have years of knowledge – Both Muirti and Pete have worked as beach lifeguards and have worked in surf schools for over 20 years each. Along with this they have both worked with the RNLI and operate water sport schools currently. In terms of qualifications – there are too many to mention! But they are the two most qualified lifeguard trainers in Ireland.
  10. We have FUN doing it!

How does each day on the course run?
Day 1: Introduction, some paperwork, ice breaker, some theory on the lifeguard  – then off to the pool to do our fitness test, we also teach some basic rescues and how to use  lifeguard equipment – then we are off to the beach – we start with some short basic rescues, then we get straight onto the rescue boards, learning entries/exits, control and paddling of board, getting over waves, catching waves, learning about swell, tide and rip currents. Then back to the classroom to continue with lectures based on the lifeguard role/job  8 hrs day not including breaks.

Day 2: Life support/casualty handling – then to beach for some long distance swim rescues, casualty handling and welfare, drags & carries, lifeguard welfare on the water, lifeguard communication  – lectures for the afternoon based on swell, tide, weather, rip currents, beach topography.  8 hr day not including breaks

Day 3: First aid theory  first aid practical  – Pool training  – perfect skills learnt on previous days in the ocean and pool along with search techniques, breaks and releases, casualty recognition  – Beach, putting the skills from first 2 days together and streamlining a rescue to make its as efficient as possible. 8 hr day not including breaks

Day 4: Life support/ casualty handing and welfare – First aid  theory – Beach  – long distance and short distance rescues in a row – pushing the physical barriers and being able to continue. Lifeguard welfare. 8 hr day not including breaks

Day 5: Lifeguard theory  – first aid practical/theory  beach training – everything in slow motion – understanding the logic around the process and ensuring each element is done correctly (2hrs)

Day 6: Consolidation training (2hrs) Exam 4-6hrs – we only present candidates that have demonstrated that that are able to pass exam for an exam. If you are not ready then more training may need to take place. 8 hr day not including breaks

Once you pass you will receive an instant certificate to cover you while working as a lifeguard  – a more formal certificate will arrive by email a few weeks later once processed. All lifeguard certificates last a maximum of two years and if you choose to renew, you must sit exam before it expires.

You have trained hard and have learnt all the skills and knowledge on a beach lifeguard. It is up to you and your employer now to continuously develop your ability through training on a weekly basis.