Benefits of Lifeguarding – by Sarah Barnett


Manassas Park Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Sarah BarnettEvery summer, aquatic facilities across the country struggle to find qualified, competent, and available lifeguards to safely guard their pools. What was once considered a rite-of-passage, or the quintessential summer job, working as a lifeguard has decreased in popularity as a summer job as more and more teenagers spend their summer interning, vacationing, or participating in extracurricular activities.  While the number of lifeguards has decreased, the number of lifeguard positions has increased as new facilities are built.  The last few summers, pools in the United States have really felt the lifeguard shortage.  The summer of 2018 may have been the worst summer yet for lifeguard staffing, as the number of local lifeguards was low and a large quantity of J-1 International Work and Travel students who would have worked as lifeguards were denied Visas to the US. Here at the Manassas Park Community Center we are always looking for qualified and hardworking individuals to guard our pool.

When it comes to lifeguarding, did you know:

-Former president, Ronald Reagan worked as a lifeguard for SEVEN summers.

-Jack Nicholson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Clint Eastwood were all lifeguards.

-Lifeguards have been around for over 200 years.  The first lifeguards were called the “Constable of the Surf”.

-The first rescue board was developed between 1910 and 1915, while the first rescue tube was developed in 1914.

-In the early 1900s, approximately 9,000 people died each year in the United States from drowning.  In 1981, that number fell to just 6,300 and by 1998, it fell again to just 4,000 people. However, drowning is still the number one cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.

-Of the total drowning deaths per years, those that occur at pools that are supervised by lifeguards account for less than 1%.

-Most lifeguards can add public relations, customer service, and conflict resolution skills to their resume, in addition to knowing CPR, first aid, and how to respond to emergencies.

Lifeguarding at the Manassas Park Community Center or Signal Bay Waterpark includes flexible scheduling, free access to the facilities, free uniforms, and the ability to do your homework when you are not in rotation! If you are not certified as a lifeguard, we can arrange a class for you, and get you certified for a fraction of the normal cost! If you or someone you know is interested in this in-demand job, please reach out to our Aquatics Manager, Sarah Barnett, for more details!

Sarah Barnett is the Operations/Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x1482 or via email at

Leave a comment