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Why be a lifeguard?
Job criteria
Work schedule


Why be a lifeguard? (top)

Lifeguarding is an ideal job for anyone who wants to make good money while spending the summer outdoors. As a lifeguard, you will deal with lifesaving issues and be responsible for the safety and well- being of thousands of people on a daily basis. To do this, you must have good public relations skills and be able to work under pressure, keeping in mind that the public will look to you as a role model.

Many of the skills you will acquire working as a VBLS lifeguard will transfer to future positions. Good communication skills, working cooperatively with a diverse group of coworkers and patrons, and a responsible attitude are desirable qualities you will have an opportunity to develop. VBLS has one of the finest open water beach patrols in the United States. Members of the patrol make friendships that endure a lifetime.

In addition to using your lifeguarding skills for work, you can also use them in athletic competition. Our local chapter of the United States Lifesaving Association hosts lifeguard competitions each summer. Qualifiers have a chance to compete at the regional and/or national level. Every lifeguard working for VBLS will be a member of the United States Lifesaving Association.

VBLS is a seasonal business that has no year-round employees. Each year we seek all who are interested in working for us to apply or re-apply for positions of either lifeguards or supervisors.

Job criteria (top)

All persons seeking employment as lifeguards including those who have worked for us in the past must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be 16 years of age.
  • You must be in good health.
  • You must pass a run test that consists of running one mile in eight and a half minutes or less prior to moving on to the swim test.
  • You must pass a swim test. The test consists of swimming 500 meters in a pool in ten minutes or less, which is a national standard.
  • You have an advantage if you hold a current lifeguard certification which must include CPR and Basic First Aid.
  • You will be provided free training for ocean lifeguard certification, if you do not currently hold such credentials. To receive this training, you must be employed by VBLS for the season.

    Upon successful completion of the swim test, you will attend classes offered by us to obtain:

    • Recertification (if needed)
    • Automatic External Defibrillator training
    • Radio Communication System course
    • Signals/Flags instruction
    • Rescue Procedures
    • Preventative Lifeguarding Scanning Techniques
    • Public Relations/Cultural Diversity Training
    • Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation Information
    • Organizational structure information
    • Lost/Found Children procedures
    • Water Safety - including rip currents, local conditions knowledge
    • Weather data
    • Medical Issues instruction

    You must be prepared to learn. The Lieutenants and veteran guards will take an active interest in you becoming competent with our rules, procedures, and organization. We will also train you to be the best lifeguard possible. A manual has been developed which covers most of the information you will need to learn. This manual will be provided during your training. Additional recommended reading is The United States Lifesaving Association Manual of Open Water Lifesaving,. You may purchase a copy by calling (866) 367-8752 or visit All members of the patrol must pass a written test on the material in the manual, as well as a general lifesaving and first aid test as part of the employment process each year. You may be subjected to a random drug test.

    Training takes place throughout employment and will include physical exercises, rescue scenarios to improve and enhance professional skills, as well as policies and procedures of VBLS.


    All VBLS employees are ambassadors for the city of Virginia Beach and, therefore, must be courteous, helpful, and professional at all times while on duty.

    Work schedule (top)

    Weekly work schedules are posted online. Guards may make requests prior to each schedule's completion. Your first day of employment is considered to be the first day you act as a lifeguard and receive an hourly wage. Your last day for the season is the last day you received an hourly wage.

    Join VBLS (top)

    Join the Fight to Save Lives

    Are you a high school or college student looking to get a jump on the summer job market? How about a professional in search of a fun, part-time job? If you're physically fit, a confident swimmer and enjoy working with people, VBLS wants you! Successful candidates can secure part-time or seasonal lifeguard positions.

    New Guards are encouraged to obtain a Red Cross or YMCA Lifeguard Training Certificate prior to applying for a position with VBLS. Contact your local YMCA, Red Cross, your college physical education department, or the City of Va. Beach Recreation Department during the fall and winter months. The courses provide valuable entry level training in lifesaving, first aid and CPR. .

    While the aforementioned certification is advantageous, it is not a requirement for employment. VBLS provides every guard with the training necessary to work in the open water environment and all necessary first aid and CPR Training.

    When to Apply

    The 2018 Application process is currently open.

    Relevant Certifications: Please provide a copy of any and all relevant certifications including current or expired lifesaving, first aid and CPR cards as an example. This includes individuals reapplying for a position. It is the individual's responsibility to provide current proof of certifications. Failure to do so may terminate your employment. Information regarding employment is subject to change at any time.

    Click on a link below to see the job posting for Lifeguard or Supervisor for VBLS this summer. Each posting describes the responsibilities and requirements for the specific position. At the bottom of the posting is a link to submit your application. All eligible applicants will be contacted via email regarding interview, run test and swim test dates that must be completed prior to hiring.



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