What Does a Water Safety Instructor Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 01 July 2019
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A water safety instructor teaches individuals and groups of people how to swim and safely participate in other water based activities. Many safety instructors are employed at municipal swimming pools while others are employed at schools or resorts. In some instances, these individuals also double as lifeguards in which case they are responsible for responding to situations involving potential drownings and other kids of emergencies.

In some countries, there are minimum age requirements for safety instructors and due to the nature of the work, a water safety instructor must be a strong swimmer with a broad knowledge of different swimming techniques. Prospective instructors are normally required to attend a training course that may last for a few days or even weeks. During the training program, participants are taught about water safety and survival techniques. Many instructors also attend first aid classes during which they are taught how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other basic medical procedures. At the end of these training sessions, participants normally have to take a test and people who pass the test receive a certificate of completion or a water safety license.


Some instructors regularly organize water safety seminars in which individuals who cannot swim are taught swimming basics and taught how to react to water based emergencies. In many instances, a water safety instructor may arrange a number of classes each of which is geared towards people of a certain age such as children or elderly individuals. The classes are designed to include swimming techniques taught are within the physical capabilities of the participants. An instructor may teach inexperienced swimmers various different swimming styles such as the breast stroke, front crawl or backstroke during these sessions.

Aside from organizing classes for people who cannot swim, a water safety instructor may also arrange training seminars for experienced swimmers. These classes introduce participants to water based dangers and also teach them how to retrieve unconscious or injured individuals from swimming pools. Additionally, many of these classes teach swimmers how to tackle dangers that are faced in rivers and oceans but not in swimming pools and these can include strong water currents or waves. Such classes are often conducted in coastal areas rather than in swimming pools.

Beyond teaching classes, a water safety instructor may place notices at swimming pools, beaches and other locations. These notices are designed to remind people about water-based hazards and the rules that swimmers must abide by. In some instances, instructors have the authority to order disorderly individuals to leave swimming pools. During an emergency, the instructor may be responsible for contacting the coast guard, a local physician or another emergency responder.



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