Characteristics of a Lifeguard

Published: 20 August 2018

Bondi Rescue On Patrol

It takes more than swimming to make a great lifeguard!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful lifeguard at one of Australia's busiest beaches? We asked the Bondi Rescue lifeguards - 'What do you think are the most important characteristics of a lifeguard?'

Aaron Buchan
"Compassion, selflessness."

Andrew 'Reidy' Reid
"We need to be extremely observant. It only takes a second for something to happen."

Anthony 'Harries' Carroll
"Smiling at the public, been able to save a life, good health and eye sight. Empathy for all."

Ben 'Quiggers' Quigley
"Patience, communication, and the ability to laugh things off."

Christopher 'Chappo' Chapman
"Patience."

Corey 'Baggins' Oliver
"Being open minded and available to everyone’s needs no matter how hard, professional or weird it may be..."

Daniel 'Beardy' McLaughlin
"To be confidant and knowledgeable in water. The rest can be taught."

Dean 'Deano' Gladstone
"Having people skills and lateral thinking on your feet. A situation can turn from fun-and-games to life-and-death in a heartbeat. Does this keep your adrenaline rushing all the time? It sure does! We did an experiment one day with GPS and heart rate monitors, which showed the physical stress of life-guarding. On a busy day we're buzzing and then get home and sleep like a baby!"

Greg 'Bisho' Bishop
"Good people skills. Great water skills and knowledge."

Jackson Doolan
"Being diligent and having good communication and surf skills."

Joel Bevilacqua
"There is all the usual characteristics you could mention such as being fit, having the ability to stay calm during emergencies, good surf skills, good people skills etc. These are obviously all important, but one quality that has stood out for me - one which all the guards seems to have - is the ability to switch on at the drop of the hat.

Everyone can be in the tower having a chat and a laugh and to most it would seem like they’re not paying attention. But then someone will see a swimmer about to get in trouble near the rocks from 2km’s away and without even using the bino’s (binoculars); or there will be a knock on the door and everyone will snap into action as if they’re US marines. When you’re in the tower or on the beach for nearly 10 hours a day sometimes, you can’t afford to be up tight and not talking the whole time because it’s just far too mentally draining, so I think this ability to have fun, but switch on whenever you need to is super important."

Juliana Bahr-Thomson
"Communication, absolute understanding and knowledge of the ocean, fitness, ability to pre-predict and visual alertness."

Kailan 'KC' Collins
"Patience and empathy."

Max 'Maxy' Ayshford
"People skills, calm under pressure, and a level head."

Michael 'Mouse' Jenkinson
"You must be fit and have an understanding of the water."

Rod 'Kerrbox' Kerr
"Water skills. Communication. Handle pressure."

Ryan Yerbury
"Never take anything for granted and always cherish the time you have. Life can be taken away so easily and I am just stoked to have this amazing job where I get to work with a bunch of awesome people and have Bondi Beach as my office."

Tommy Fraser
"Thick skin and a happy personality."

Trent 'Maxi' Maxwell
"You need to have a good personality, drive, dedication and be responsible."