Thinking about Drowning

The other day  I was thinking about drowning.

I was at the public pool swimming laps. It was a busy day for the pool. There were 20 people doing aerobics, four lap swimmers and a dozen kids taking lessons.

Two lifeguards watched.

Two lifeguards that in a split second have to decide if a swimmer is in trouble and act.

Two lifeguards that together may make $18 an hour. Maybe.

I can’t tell if they were paying attention, because I can’t see squat without my specs. I can see there are people in the lifeguard chairs and that’s about it.

Imagine the responsibility in the hands of those two young people making $7-$9 an hour. No other job requires such immediate life-saving action without any warning.


Firefighters, EMT’s, and cops all have some warning that a life is in danger before they arrive on the scene.

Lifeguards are guarding multiple lives at once.

This was an indoor pool with sparkling clean water so the bottom was easily visible and everyone is swimming in a 25 meter pool. Imagine the job when it involves multiple pools and water slides and water falls – like a resort.

Or the ocean.

OC lifeguards are paid around $15 an hour. But ocean lifeguards have  more skills

For those who enjoy getting their tan on while working, guarding at an outdoor pool is more than a day at the beach. Pools and beaches are just as different as indoor and outdoor places. Bodies of open water require knowledge of aquatic life, wave size, tide times, etc. and often require a certification beyond a typical lifeguarding one.

Now imagine a lifeguard at a friggin’ water park where there are hundreds of kids running and splashing around and screwing around like deranged Orcas.

I remember seeing an undercover video on lifeguards. Of course, it showed the bad side as well as the good. Bad = watching and flirting with the chicks and dudes. Good = constantly scanning and changing chairs every 15 minutes.

I don’t have a point. I just need to find something else to think about while I’m swimming besides the fact that I may need the help of an under-paid lifeguard.

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