Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers

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Also known as:
Beach Lifeguard, Certified Ski Patroller, Life Guard, OEC Technician, Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, Pool Lifeguard, Ski Patrol

Video transcript

Helping to keep outdoor recreation safe is the job of recreational protective service workers such as lifeguards or members of the ski patrol or those who monitor other recreational areas. A big part of these jobs is preventing accidents. Protective service workers warn people about unsafe conditions and discourage risky behavior, and when mishaps happen, they are specifically trained to respond.

Lifeguards constantly scan the waters for someone who might be in trouble. If they spot someone in danger, they dive into action. They may use flotation devices, ropes, poles, or specially designed wave runners to rescue a struggling swimmer. In addition to being strong swimmers in excellent physical condition, lifeguards must pass life-saving and CPR certification courses.

Ski patrollers safeguard skiers and snowboarders by maintaining trails and marking those that are unsafe. They help to educate an unsafe skier or attend to someone in distress. Ski patrollers rarely work alone. Collisions and falls at 30 to 40 miles per hour down a ski slope can result in severe injuries. Stabilizing hurt skiers and getting them quickly to professional medical help takes well-rehearsed teamwork.

Ski patrollers must be able to ski safely and efficiently in any weather, through any terrain, often loaded down with heavy rescue gear. They are usually CPR certified and often must have EMT certification as well. Many ski patrollers are volunteers. Some large resorts use a combination of volunteers and patrollers.

If you love to swim or ski, these jobs are one way to make that passion pay off. Since most work is seasonal, it's ideal for anyone looking for temporary employment with a good paycheck. Recreational protective service workers come from many different walks of life, but all are committed to promoting fun and safety on the slopes or on the water.

Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes, to provide assistance and protection to participants.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Contact emergency medical personnel in case of serious injury.

Examine injured persons and administer first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if necessary, using training and medical supplies and equipment.

Rescue distressed persons, using rescue techniques and equipment.

Maintain quality of pool water by testing chemical levels.

Inspect recreational equipment, such as rope tows, T-bars, J-bars, or chair lifts, for safety hazards and damage or wear.

Complete and maintain records of weather and beach conditions, emergency medical treatments performed, and other relevant incident information.

Patrol or monitor recreational areas, such as trails, slopes, or swimming areas, on foot, in vehicles, or from towers.

Inspect recreational facilities for cleanliness.

Instruct participants in skiing, swimming, or other recreational activities and provide safety precaution information.

Warn recreational participants of inclement weather, unsafe areas, or illegal conduct.

Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.