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How To Design An Effective Lifeguard Schedule

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When you own a pool, you are going to want to make sure that people will be able to have fun, but do so safely. One great tool that you have in your safety arsenal is to hire lifeguards. Lifeguards are people, usually students in high school or college, that have gone through a lifeguard training course and know how rescue patrons safely from the water, even if the patrons are panicking or have a neck injury. However, lifeguards are less effective if they are scheduled incorrectly. Here are some tips for scheduling your lifeguards to make sure that your pool is totally covered with watchful eyes and that your lifeguards do not get fatigued.

1. Assign an Assistant Manager for Each Shift

The first step is to divide the hours that your pool is open into shifts. If your pool is open for eight hours, you might want to consider having two four hour shifts. If your pool is open for eight hours and is then hired out for a pool party for an additional two hours, you might want to have two three hour shifts and one four hour shift. Talk to the lifeguards that you have just hired to see what they prefer and what will work best with their schedules. 

For each shift, you are going to want to assign one of the guards to be an assistant manager. The assistant manager will be in charge of assigning each lifeguard to a specific spot at the beginning of the shift. This will allow you to deal with pool patrons during business hours, rather than focusing on managing the guards.

2.  Schedule One More Guard Than You Need for Each Shift

For each shift, you are going to want to schedule one more guard than you actually need in order to have full coverage if not everyone shows up for their shift. If the amount of money that you have made during that time does not support that extra guard, ask everyone if they would like to go home. Since many of these kids are going to be on summer break when they are working at your pool, at least one will want to leave. If none of them are willing to leave, set up a rotating schedule where a different person has to leave each time you are not making payroll.

3. Make a Call List

Finally, you are going to want to make a call list for your guards so that they each have everyone's number. Make sure that they know that it is their responsibility to find a sub if they are not able to come in for their shift. Set up a protocol that anyone that needs to call off gives you the names of everyone else that he or she has called before giving up. This will allow you to make sure that you have full coverage.

For more information, talk to a company that specializes in pool management.


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