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Professional Standards

It is the ethical and legal duty of all lifeguard professionals to exercise the highest level of ability, care, diligence, and skill and to follow the policies and procedures of their agency in the performance of their duties. CSLSA lifeguards practice the best methods of training and display the highest principles of conduct in performing their jobs as professional lifesavers.

The CSLSA professional standards committee's mission is to research and share information to help standardize all California lifeguard agencies where possible after reviewing Federal, State, and Local laws and practices and to set forth these recommendations to ensure that all lifeguards in California are provided with the tools, skills, and qualifications needed to be a rescue professional.

Committee Goals
The Professional Standards committee's goals are to:

  • Identify the minimum standards and qualifications of open water lifeguards.
  • Monitor current Federal, State, and Local laws that set minimum requirements for lifeguards.
  • Enhance the recognition of open water lifeguards as highly trained emergency rescue professionals, similar to Fire and Police personnel.

Committee Tasks
The Professional Standards committee, formed in 2015, will spend most of its time collecting data, creating surveys, evaluating areas of need, and organizing a plan of implementation. The sharing of ideas across agencies is critical, as is the understanding of federal, state, and local guidelines. The committee reports will be shared with the CSLSA Board of Directors every six months.

Committee Update - April, 2017
The Professional Standards committee met at the Spring, 2017 Board of Directors' meeting and discussed the data collected from the following responding agencies - City of Los Angeles, Solana Beach, Lake Mission Viejo, City of Seal, Capitola City, Santa Cruz, LA County Lakes and Santa Monica Harbor. The committee chair is awaiting responses from the rest.

Discussed at the Spring meeting were the following topics:

  1. A training hours spreadsheet that includes Rookie School, Vehicle Training, Boat/Deckhand, PWC Ops, and ATV/Side by Side.
  2. Shark policies, warnings and sightings with Agency Protocols.
  3. Drones and licensing.
  4. Lifeguard vision requirements and issues with vision lost in a lifeguard's career. (The committee will focus on data received from each agency pertaining to the miniumum standards and issues that arise.)
  5. Lifeguard's minimum requirement for hearing and concerns of hearing loss over time working in the field.
  6. PWC baseline standards and curriculum, which will be posted online soon.

Other future online postings include shark policies with templates, training sessions that are open to all lifeguard agencies, and a contact list of training officers' email addresses. For the Winter, 2017 season, the committee will continue to collect survey responses and assimilate with previously-gathered information in their goal of identifying the minimum standards and qualifications for all lifeguards.

Professional Standards Survey (from Spring, 2016 BOD)
Professional Standards Survey Responses (from Spring, 2017 BOD)