Be a Junior Lifeguard

Junior lifeguards stand ready on an overcast day on a beach to practice their skills.
Junior Lifeguards at the ready.

NPS Photo.

What is a Junior Lifeguard?

Junior Lifeguards are girls and boys ages 13 to 17 years who train with National Park Service lifeguards in the following skills:

  • Swimming safely in surf
  • Swimming safely in rip currents
  • Various ocean rescue techniques
  • CPR and First Aid
  • Use of oxygen tanks and automatic external defibrillators
  • Protection of natural resources
  • Working with the public
 

When and where do Junior Lifeguards meet?

The Junior Lifeguard program begins in early July and runs through early August. Classes meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet.

 
Junior Lifieguards run into the surf carrying long red and yellow surf boards.
Running into the surf.

NPS Photo.

Describe a day in the Junior Lifeguard class.

Most classes are held on the beach, with few indoor classroom sessions. Typically, a class begins with some type of group exercise. It may be a beach run, body surfing, swimming races, calisthenics, or a mix of these. The remainder of the class is generally devoted to learning various lifeguarding skills. A significant portion of class time will be spent in the water.
 
Will I be eligible to work as a lifeguard later?

Participants 15 years old and older before the end of the program will be eligible to earn their American Red Cross lifeguard certifications during the course of the program. Employment as a lifeguard after participation in the Junior Lifeguard Program is not guaranteed. However, several former Junior Lifeguards are currently working as paid lifeguards for various agencies.
 
Junior Lifeguards use a rope to practice rescues from land.
Develop practical skills.

NPS Photo.

How do I become a Junior Lifeguard?

There is no fee to enroll in the Junior Lifeguard Program. The program is free. Enrollment is limited to approximately 16 participants. Each applicant must be interviewed, and on the first day of the program participants must pass a fitness test at Marconi Beach consisting of a one third mile open ocean swim followed immediately by a one half mile beach run.

While the use of a wetsuit is allowed after the first class, none will be allowed for the initial swim test. Water temperature at Marconi Beach in early July is generally in the mid 50s. Due to variable surf and weather conditions, there is no hard time limit for completion of this test. Participants' performance will be judged by lifeguards on duty at Marconi Beach that day. But as a general guideline, those interested in enrolling in this program should be able to swim 500 yards in a pool in less than approximately nine minutes, and complete a mile run in less than approximately eight minutes.

The Junior Lifeguard Program includes arduous physical activity, occasionally in high surf conditions. Participants may swim in rip currents, and complete beach runs up to five miles.

To apply: contact Gordon Miller by email (gordon_miller@nps.gov) or call 508-487-2100, extension 0923
 

Lets Go!

Download the Junior Lifeguard application and get started.

Download the application (Word)

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667

Phone:

(508) 255-3421

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