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Do you fancy being a lifeguard?

Lifeguard Sophie Sharratt at the Herons Pool, Herne Bay. Picture:Chris Davey
Lifeguard Sophie Sharratt at the Herons Pool, Herne Bay. Picture:Chris Davey

Lifeguards are our guardian angels, watching over us as we swim, ready to dive in and save us should we get into difficulties.

Active Life is holding an open day on Saturday, June 7, to give people the opportunity to train for this rewarding job.

During the day at Herons Swimming Pool, Herne Bay, which runs from 11am to 2pm, you can learn more about the role of a lifeguard and complete a swimming test to assess your potential to pass an National Pool Lifeguard Qualification course. The qualification is essential if you want to work as a lifeguard.

Those with potential to gain the lifeguard qualification will be invited to attend the week-long NPLQ course the following week. Active Life will pay the £200 course fee.

Dominic Comins, of Active Life, said: “We are looking for hard-working, polite, approachable individuals who have the potential to become enthusiastic members of our lifeguard teams.”

To attend the open day you must be at least 16, a competent swimmer and eligible to work in the UK. Pre-booking is essential.

For more information or to book your place contact Laura Downes on 01227 264444 or email laura.downes@activelifeltd.co.uk before 1pm on Friday, June 6.

Lifeguard profile

Name: Sophie Sharratt

Age: 20

Occupation: I’m a full-time student on a personal trainer course at Canterbury College and part-time lifeguard at the Herons Swimming Pool, Herne Bay. I also teach swimming and hold aqua aerobics at the pool.

How long have you been a lifeguard? Nearly four years. I swam for Herne Bay Swimming Club from the age of 11, have always enjoyed swimming, am quite a sporty person and thought it would be a nice job to do.

How many hours a week do you lifeguard? At the moment I do about 11 hours a week, although I was full-time last year.

What does the job entail? Although the majority of our time is spent watching swimmers in the pool, the job does involve some cleaning, so during a shift you could also have to clean the toilets, scrub the tiles and clean out the lockers.

Have you ever dealt with a serious incident? I have never had to rescue anyone from the pool but I once had to help a man who had dislocated his shoulder.

What’s rewarding about the job? Watching the swimmers having fun. Knowing that you have the skills to be able to save someone’s life.

What qualifications do you have? The NPLQ (National Pool Lifeguard Qualification), and I’m a qualified first aider, including first aid at work.

How strong a swimmer do you need to be to be a lifeguard? You should be able to swim 16 lengths of a 25m pool in eight minutes.

Is there ongoing training? Yes, we do a two-day refresher course every two years and we have to attend one staff training session a month.

High points of the job? As a lifeguard you get free membership of the Active Life pools and gyms, so you can swim, do exercise classes or visit the gyms whenever you like.

And the low points? Fishing poos out of the pool! Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often and you do get used to it. Also the cleaning, because it wasn’t why you chose to do the job, but it is part and parcel of the job. Another downside is that it can get very hot poolside sometimes.

Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. You can be a lifeguard full-time but if you want a part-time job it fits in really well around school or college.

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