Lifeguard tryouts start Sunday


Eron Ben-Yehuda

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- Bring a bathing suit and a towel Sunday if you want

to try out for a lifeguard position, but leave your misconceptions at


The biggest mistake people make about the job is “that a lifeguard just

sits up in a tower and gets a tan,” Marine Safety Lt. Mike Beuerlein


The tryouts, which start at 8 a.m., will be anything but laid-back.

Potential lifeguards are expected to excel in ocean swims of 500 and

1,000 yards and a combination swim and run of 1,500 yards. In addition to

being in peak physical condition, applicants must be at least 17 years

old and have 20-40 uncorrected vision to qualify for one of the 20 to 30

slots available for spring, summer and fall, he said.

Another misconception is that women don’t have the necessary strength or

toughness to work as lifeguards.

“We’ve had a number of female lifeguards working for us that have proven

that theory wrong,” Beuerlein said.

The majority of recruits are swimmers and water polo players from high

school or college, he said.

“Very few people are able to swim at a level that is required to do this

job,” he said.

Those who make the cut will police one of the most popular beaches in the

world, with an estimated 9 million visitors annually.

When you combine so many tourists, many of them inexperienced swimmers,

with Surf City’s large waves and hazardous ocean currents, a lifeguard’s

work is rarely dull, with about 2,000 rescues every year, he said.

“We have more rescues per mile of beach than anywhere else,” he said.

The chosen few will make about $12 an hour, but the real payoffs are

staying in shape, working outdoors and, best of all, saving people’s

lives, said Beuerlein, an 18-year veteran.

Even so, some people think the fringe benefits of being a lifeguard are

more in line with what they’ve seen on television.

“Girls on the beach,” said Danny Stoertz, 22, of Australia.

“Giving them mouth to mouth,” adds his Aussie friend Shannon Blanche, 23.

“They probably don’t want to admit it, but that’s definitely a bonus,”

resident Sam Gonzales, 22, said.


WHAT: Huntington Beach lifeguard tryouts

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Lifeguard headquarters, 103 Pacific Coast Highway.

CALL: 536-5281