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 !