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Wollongong City Council

Our Lifeguards

Council lifeguards patrol our beaches and some of our pools to help keep you safe. They provide search and rescue services, and can help with medical care in an emergency.

Lifeguards also work hard to spread the surf safety message. They regularly visit schools and hold education sessions to help people stay safe at the beach.

In the peak swim season we can have up to 75 lifeguards working at beaches, and up to 80 more at our pools.

What’s the difference between a lifeguard and a lifesaver?

Lifeguards are employed by Council at our beaches and pools. They wear white shirts with blue shorts. Our beach lifeguards usually patrol from Monday to Saturday. Pool lifeguards work whenever patrolled pools are open.

Lifesavers are volunteers who give their time to patrol beaches on Sundays and public holidays. They wear red and yellow uniforms. Surf Lifesaving Illawarra welcomes new volunteers and supporters. Visit their website to find out more.

We have a mix of permanent and casual lifeguards on staff.

Lifeguard jobs are usually advertised in the winter for work to start in the next swimming season. We occasionally also advertise for extra lifeguards during the rest of the year.

Check our Job Vacancies for any current roles that are open.

If you want to become a lifeguard, you’ll need to be fit and have a few qualifications.

To get a job as a Wollongong City Council lifeguard, you will need:

  • Surf lifesaving skills and experience, or to be a professional lifeguard. Many of our lifeguards are members of the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA).
  • Certificate III in Public Safety (Aquatic Search and Rescue) (PUA30322). We sometimes also make entry-level roles available for people with a Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue) (PUA20119).
  • A current Provide First Aid qualification (HLTAID011).
  • A current Advanced Resuscitation and Oxygen Therapy qualification (HLTAID015).

As part of the recruitment process, we test potential lifeguards to make sure they're fit and know their stuff. Lifeguard testing usually includes:

  • An 800m pool swim which needs to be finished in under 14 minutes.
  • An ‘M’ shaped mission including a 600m swim, 500m run, 600m board paddle, and another 500m run. This needs to be finished in less than 25 minutes.
  • A surf rescue using a rescue board to return a patient to shore over 250 metres.
  • A written theory test.
  • A pre-employment medical assessment.

Training providers

You can search the Department of Education and Training’s website for a full list of courses to get lifeguard qualifications.

Some of the training providers who can assist you with qualifications include:

Our Ocean Lifeguards have put together a swim training program you can use to build your strength and fitness.

It's been designed for people interested in joining our team, but anyone's welcome to use it.

Ocean Lifeguard swim training program  PDF, 214.9 KB