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Lifeguards wanted for summer staff

County has job for Michael Phelps

Posted: January 14, 2009 10:24 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A swimmer makes his way toward shore after participating in the 13th annual Night Crawlers swim race at Castaic Lake July 2008. Lifeguards and junior guards swim in the dark for 1,650 yards.

 
One local agency is bucking the unemployment trend by hiring about a dozen people who can swim a 1,000 meters in less than 18 minutes.

The Castaic Lake Parks and Recreation Center is one of a handful of natural county water areas that want to hire strong swimmers who can guard lives.

"There is still a need for lifeguards here right now and we're looking to complete our summer staff," said Joe Walsh, Lake Aquatics Manager for Castaic Lake. "We are looking to hire between 10 and 15 people."

The Lake Lifeguards of the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation are now recruiting new applicants for their Lake Lifeguard service.

At Castaic Lake, a packed calendar of summer events means more lifeguards are required to ensure safety, Walsh said.

The Los Angeles County Lake Lifeguards safeguard 40 miles of California's most popular water attraction sites including Castaic Lake, Bonelli Park and Santa Fe Dam.

In a press release issued by the county Tuesday, the Lake Lifeguards boast 75 years of qualified service.

"The Los Angeles County Lake Lifeguards have earned a reputation as one of the finest life guarding agencies in the world," according to the press release.

Next month, Castaic Lake will conduct re-certification tests for each of its lifeguards.

"We're looking for qualified people. It doesn't matter if they're male or female," Walsh said Tuesday. "A lot of our (staff) numbers depends on how many lifeguards are returning people."

A Lake Lifeguard observes an assigned area of a lake from a tower launch ramp or patrol boat to preserve order, prevent accidents and effect rescues, according to the job description offered by county officials.

All candidates trying out for one of the lifeguard spots must swim 1,094 yards in 18 minutes or less.

Many of the lifeguards returning to Castaic Lake, expected to show up for re-certification, participated in the annual Night Crawler Swim last summer.

The fastest Night Crawler swam 1,640 yards across Castaic Lake in 15:30 minutes.

"Swimming a thousand meters is done in a pool so that helps a little bit," Walsh said about county testing.
New applicants for the Lake Lifeguard program require no prior experience.

They're expected to complete a swimming exam, after which successful applicants will be enrolled in the Lake Lifeguard Academy where they must complete a county-approved basic course of instruction including advanced lifesaving, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Requirements for applicants are a valid California "Class C" Driver License, 18 years old, be at least 18 on or before May 16, 2009, have at least 20/30 sight in each eye without correction and have proof of high school graduation or equivalent at the time of appointment.

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