Saturday, 19 February 2011

Lifeguards and Lifesavers - Peregian and Rainbow Beach

What's the difference between a lifeguard and a lifesaver?

In the Australian context, there is an important historical difference , though they essentially they do the same thing and the boundaries are increasingly blurring.

A lifeguard is paid, usually by a local council or private entity, whereas a lifesaver comes through the tradition of the voluntary Surf Lifesaving Association, and does voluntary lifeguard duties on weekends and holidays.   Lifesavers belong to clubs (they're sometimes dubbed "clubbies") and wear the red and yellow colours. Surf Lifesaving clubs provide personnel who do lifeguard duties, but it's also considered a sport, with regular competitions. The original surf life saving club is a matter of contention between the Bronte and Bondi beach clubs in Sydney. The original surf life saving club is a matter of contention between the Bronte and Bondi Beach clubs in Sydney.

"Lifesavers are volunteers that typically patrol in groups under a patrol captain for a given period of time on weekend and public holidays under a roster system. In order to be a surf lifesaver a person must hold a Bronze Medallion or a Surf Rescue Certificate and pass an annual proficiency test. Life savers who are on patrol wear red and yellow cloth caps on the head. While not performing rescues they are also required to wear long-sleeve yellow shirts and red shorts to provide protection against the sun. " (Wikipedia)

Click here to see more about the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia. They have a fantastic iPhone app which describes beach conditions at more than 12 000 Australian beaches!

Article about rivalry between lifesavers and lifeguards.

I'd love to hear opinions from anyone !

Lifeguard signs at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland

The surf livesaving tower at Rainbow Beach, Queensland


Anonymous said...

Lifeguards go through tougher hiring standards than the surf lifesavers. Surf lifesavers go through an annual bronze medallion test which if I recall is a 400 meter pool swim in under 9 minutes, and a 400 meter beach run and 400 meter beach swim untimed. Lifeguards go through a fitness proficiency every 3 months, which consists of an 800 meter pool swim in 14 minutes, a 400 meter ocean swim, 1600 meter beach run 400 meter board paddle in 23 minutes.

Also clubbies can vary from region to region depending on the club captains and members, I've seen lifesavers in some areas that couldn't save a toddler drowning in 2mm of water, and surf lifesavers that are 10x better than 75% of lifeguards. In big areas, such as sunny coast and gold coast, Sydney, they're always on top of it, but they can be slack and unprofessional in other areas, especially remote locations.

Lifeguards are almost always professional in their position as it's a career choice for them and they are "professional lifeguards"

Waterman said...

The word lifeguard may be self explanatory, but the actual meaning of what it is to be a lifeguard is much more complicated. Obtaining the title of lifeguard is no easy task; however, it is one that stays with that person his/her entire life.....
Lifeguard Apparel