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Open water or beach lifeguard employment opportunities in California and Hawaii exist each year similar to most beaches in the United States and throughout the world. The vast majority of seasonal lifeguard staffing needs occur during the summer months and to a lesser degree during the Spring and Fall.

The lifeguard tryouts, tryout test dates and rookie (cadet) schools held each year vary from beach to beach.

Lifeguard tryouts may include all or most of the following:

1) 500 meter swim in less than 10 minutes (USLA minimum standard)
2) 1000 meter combined run-swim-run
3) 400 meter surf swim
4) 400 meter paddleboard
5) oral interview

The tryout test dates for some beaches start in February and March with most in April and May and well in advance of the peak summer season. Tryouts are scheduled usually on either a Saturday or Sunday in the early morning and may last three to four hours. The minimum qualifications for tryout candidates include:

1) excellent physical condition
2) vision uncorrected 20/40
3) United States Social Security Number
4) minimum age of either 16, 17 or 18 (varies with agencies)

Lifeguard rookie (cadet) schools are held for applicants who successfully complete tryouts. These schools are scheduled in either weekend blocks or concurrently for seven days or more. The average school, testing and interview is no less than 96 hours. At the conclusion of this process a hiring list is made with employment opportunities made available to those on the list from the top down. Physical examinations and background checks are completed prior to employment.