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Surf City Lifeguarding Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a Surf City Lifeguard:

What is the hiring process to become a Surf City lifeguard?
You must fill out a pre-employment application that you may pick up at the Borough or download here and take the lifeguard test.  Click here to download an application for lifeguarding.  The application is in Adobe pdf format.

What does the pre-season lifeguard test consist of?
The lifeguard test consists of a timed swim, a dive test (see next paragraph), and an interview.   The swim test is 500m in the St. Francis Community Center indoor pool that must be completed in 10 minutes or less. 
500m is approximately 550 yards, which is 11 laps, or 22 lengths of a standard 25 yard swimming pool.  Jobs will be assigned based on swim times and stroke efficiency, past experience and certifications, and the interview.  Applicants that do not pass the swim test will not continue through the rest of the employment testing.

There will also be victim recovery test where each applicant will don a mask and snorkel and bring up a manikin from the deep end of the pool and swim it to the pool edge.  You will also be expected to be able to clear the snorkel.  Bring your own mask and snorkel if you have them.  If you don't own a mask and snorkel don't worry, we'll have them at the test.

What is the pay?
You may view the current lifeguard pay scale here.

In addition, Surf City provides an additional $50 pay for lifeguards who work at least 75% of the summer or 52 days and work at least 2 weekdays during the final week and work at least 1 day during the final weekend.

What if I can't attend the first swim test?
Make-up tests are available.  Please contact me at

What will you be looking at during the swim test besides the time?
Of course the most important part of the swim test is the time.  That being said, it is very important to be able to swim with your head in the water (an efficient freestyle stroke) and to swim straight.  Learn to coordinate your breathing and swimming and to keep your feet from sinking while swimming.  Also keep in mind that doing a lot of surfing does not mean that you can swim freestyle or are in shape for the test.

Tell me more about the swim test?
You may bring goggles to the swim test and I suggest that you do.  Besides being in good swimming shape you should be able to swim straight to a mark in open water.  The entire swim test must be completed using the freestyle or crawl stroke and no stopping is permitted.

How difficult is it to make the swimming time?
Unless you are or were recently on a swim team you will probably need to refine your stroke and get in swimming shape to make the swim time.

What should I do to prepare for the swim test?
Again, this depends on your swimming skill and fitness level but I would suggest 20-30 minutes of swimming three times a week for about four weeks before the test.   You should be in good enough shape to swim at a relatively hard pace for 10 minutes or 550 yards (22 pool lengths in a 25 yard pool) so you know that you can pass the USLA swim test.  I would spend some time at a pool.  Say, 3 times a week, swimming a total of 1000 yards each time. A good workout would be 100 yards(4 laps), 200yds(8 laps), 300 yds(12laps), 400yds(16laps) and a cool down of 50 yard (2 laps). One lap is once across the pool. Across and back is two laps.

Do I need any certifications?
You will need to be certified in Advanced First Aid (minimum 17 hour course) and CPR with AED.  We can provide the training and certifcations.   Advanced lifesaving or lifeguard training is beneficial but not mandatory.

How old must I be to lifeguard in Surf City?
You must be at least sixteen years old to work as a lifeguard in Surf City.  If you are under eighteen years old you will have to get working papers before you begin work.

What is a good time to get?
A competitive college swimmer will generally complete the test in under 6 minutes.  The majority of the squad does it in 7 to 9 minutes. 

What do I need to bring to the lifeguard test?
Swim trunks, goggles, a towel, and worm clothes to change into after the test.  Also remember to bring your running shoes!  You also might want to bring your own mask and snorkel if you own them.  Otherwise we'll have them for you.  Sometimes it’s cold on the day of the test.

Will the test be held if it looks like it is going to rain?
The pre-season test is in an indoor pool so the test will take place regardless of the weather.

When and where is the lifeguard test?
There will be two lifeguard tests.  Both will be at the St. Francis Pool located at 4700 Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach, NJ 08008.  Check the homepage of this website for test dates and times.

Can you give me some tips for the lifeguard test?
Sure, make sure you can swim straight in open water and that you can swim freestyle the entire 550 yards without stopping.   You should practice sighting every 2 or 3 strokes depending on how straight you swim.

Does the Borough of Surf City have housing for Lifeguards?
No.  At this point in time the Borough does not offer housing for lifeguards.

How many days a week will I be working and what are the hours?
You will be working six days a week from 9:45 to 5:00. 

Does Surf City hire part-time lifeguards?
Surf City does hire part-time lifeguards but only if they have previously worked full-time on the Surf City Beach Patrol or have other significant lifeguarding experience.

Will I have to pay for the uniform?
The Borough will supply you with a uniform. 

What is included in the uniform I will receive?
You will receive two pairs of shorts, t-shirt, long sleeve t, sweat top, sweat bottom, hat, whistle, and a jacket.  All first year lifeguards receive jackets. 


Surf City Beach Patrol, 813 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008
 Surf City Borough Hall (609) 494-3064