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More Lifeguard Tryouts April 30th At UWF

Photo via Flickr// Jandy Stone

In case you missed the first one, another lifeguard tryout is scheduled for April 30 by the Santa Rosa Island Authority.

Candidates are asked to be at the UWF Aquatic Center a little before 1:00 p.m. on that Saturday, to fill out the paperwork for a possible spot at Pensacola or Johnson Beaches.

“We hold tryouts several times throughout the year, such as gearing up for the start of summer in May,” said Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson. “Some people are out of town or in school or college during the spring, and they come back at the end of April/early May. So we’re able to tap into people who aren’t otherwise in town.”

Starting pay is $14.57 per hour. Johnson says while applicants don’t need it, an American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification is helpful. And applicants do have to be able to show they can handle the rigors of lifeguarding.

“The trial consists of a 600-yard swim in a pool, followed by a mile and a half run on a track,” Johnson said. “You have to do the swim in less than ten minutes, and the run in less than 12 minutes.”

Following the initial tryout in late January, the lifeguard team took to the beaches on March 1, to oversee what Johnson calls a very busy spring break season.

“So far, so good; everything’s been going pretty well out here,” said Johnson. “Lots of people come to the beach on the weekends, and especially on the sunny days. We’ve definitely made a good number of rescues during March and coming up into April.”

Besides the physical tryout, the applicants will be reminded – in no uncertain terms – that if hired they will be guarding open water, and not the country club pool.

“If that’s what people have in mind, then this job is definitely not for them,” said Johnson. “If someone is hired out here, they will have to make rescues, they will have to swim in the surf. They will have to go out in red flag and rip currents and pull drowning people in. It’s something that will happen.”

But even the best lifeguards can’t do it all. The good sense and judgment of beach goers are vital to overall safety. To that end, the lifeguards’ top goal is not only to protect, but also to educate.

“Number one, swim near a lifeguard, that your best bet,” said Johnson. “Number two is be aware of rip currents how to escape from them.”

More information on beach safety is at www.Pensacolabeachlifeguard.com. If your swimming ability is in doubt, Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson says there’s always Quietwater Sound, across from the Gulf of Mexico.

Once again, tryouts will be held at 1:00 p-m on Saturday, April 30 at the UWF Aquatic Center. For more information you can reach Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson at (850) 503-1799 or at adjohnson@myescambia.com.