This had been the summer of ’66 where I landed my very first open water lifeguard project at holiday-home Camp on the beautiful beaches of Lake Geneva. This was the beginning of a career that lasted for more than 35 years. Of being a lifeguard had it’s privileges. Every lifeguard from the beginning of time it seems always had a girl. I was not any different, especially in the summer of 1966. It was this specific summer that identified that the character I was to eventually become. To really know the livelihood choice I made would be always to look back to the way lifeguards have evolved through the years.
When we talk of the evolution of life guards we have to return back to the turn of the 20th century at which resorts in places such as Atlantic City and New Jersey were becoming mecas for tourists and beach goers. As more folks flocked to the beaches so did the number of incidences of water related injuries and many people drowned. By early 1900s longer that 9,000 people drowned each year in the USA. It was becoming apparent that in order to prevent and lessen Lifeguard Training the amount of deaths and water related accidents began the movement to train individuals to protect against unintentional drowning. Hence, the term lifeguard was is associated with those specifically been trained in water saving. One of the first was Duke Kahanamoku, that had been one of Hawaii’s initial original watermen, which introduced the rescue board between 1910 and 1915. It had been Captain Harry Sheffield of South Africa who is credited with developing the initial rescue float, so which by the way is a version of the initial that is still used now.
But, it had been the YMCA who already had introduced progressive swim recommendations to learning how to float that acquired the National Lifesaving Service back in 1912. This was followed with the Red Cross in 1914. Both businesses developed their own training programs specifically designed to coach individuals not just to show swimming but to be better designed to render assistance and perform water rescues. As a way to become a life guard one had to become a very skillful swimmer to start with, but was likewise been trained in life saving methods that entailed resuscitation. These trained individuals or lifeguards were responsible for supervising beaches and pool facilities and all other water related activities all across the united states.
In the beginning the life guard training apps primarily emphasized personal water safety: The way to reduce drowning and protect oneself in crises. Non swimming rescue techniques, like throwing a rope or a floating object to the individual from the sport, were also encouraged. Lifeguards considered swimming rescues a final resort due to this danger presented with way of a panicked swimmer at water. Up to the mid 1970’s life guard training whether it had been Red Cross or YMCA the rigors of qualifying just to be allowed to participate in classes to become certified as a life-guard proved very intense. I remember the swim test I took just to make up for the class back in the early 1960’s. The swim check was almost too tricky. Luckily though I was an associate of the swim team other wise I would have passed gaining entry into the program. What we suffered for weeks of circuit training at which we had to perform water rescues in any number of situation without any floatation devises having just our strength and adorable was magic that none of us trainees never became victims ourselves.
It was this practice back then prepared me to get a career not only for pool oversight however also for openwater imports as well. When I look in a standard swimming pool lifeguard today round the united states I’m amazed at the lack of swimming proficiency that many of the modern pool life guards have. But then I consider the lifeguards state, in Australia where their shore guards are literally amazing in their own quick response so many contingencies whether individuals are captured in riptides or exposed to too much sun highlight the rigorous training that they continue to experience.
But back in the summer of ’66 my tenure while the life guard was virtually event totally thanks to my pragmatic whistle and quick assessment of folks entering and out of their water. Again, it was the practice I purchased back then prepared me to the job at hand that let me own a safe and virtually occasion complimentary summer. I was not a real macho type however as a lifeguard did offer a few advantages. People looked to the lifeguard for they have been the ones which is there to protect their safety while at a swimming or swimming pool. I was not any different.
It was during that summer that I realized my calling of speaking using that which I was destined to do. Since my dad took me into the old Irving Park Y ago when I was little exposed me to the great universe of aquatics. Later, I developed a legitimate awareness and competency that allowed be to thrive in an environment when others would not. Through-out years many new creations and techniques have led to saving more lives came together. We had to undergo rigorous training to keep fit and to update on the most recent techniques for saving and resuscitation. Always in the back of our mind was, am I going to be analyzed when a true emergency happens? I’ve seen it happen on several occasions whenever a fellow life guard just freezes at the precise moment he must have jumped to actions. In spite of all that training you can find people who simply can’t handle a real live and passing situation as it actually occurs. It happens all the time.
As the years couple by I had been always amazed at the technology being introduced to life saving. What we were trained in back from the 60’s by the 90’s was obsolete and deemed unreliable. The devises just like the rescue float has been redesigned so the every life-guard today is assigned you to use just incase they were called into activity.