Ben Greenslade, West Dorset Lifeguard, patrolling Lyme Regis Beach using a rescue board.

Become a lifeguard

Interested in being a frontline lifesaver? Find out how to become a lifeguard – a unique and rewarding job, keeping thousands of beachgoers safe
RNLI/Nathan Williams

As an RNLI lifeguard you’ll build your work – and life – experience, get good rates of pay and learn lifesaving skills that stay with you wherever your career heads next.

You can apply whether you live inside or outside the UK – you need to be 16 and of school leaving age, have a National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (or equivalent) and meet a specific fitness criteria and have a right to work in the UK. If you’re not qualified yet, don’t worry! Find out how you can get qualified by visiting the requirements and training section.

Being a lifeguard FAQs

There are many benefits of being a lifeguard. Lifeguarding opens plenty of doors for professional development – no matter what career you aspire to.

To help you make the most out of your experience and training, you’ll get to work on a wide range of beaches and finish the summer with new qualifications and transferable skills. Your availability for the whole season is essential so we can run an effective lifeguard service. But we recognise that you might have other commitments, such as family care or shift work with another employer, as well as pre-arranged holidays. We’re open to working flexibly around these.

You'll earn a salary as an RNLI lifeguard which, depending on your role, can range from £11.50 to £13.64 per hour*.

*Please note that these rates apply until April 2024 and will be updated once our hourly rates for April 2024 onwards are finalised.

Throughout your time as a lifeguard, you’ll follow an extensive training programme to build your skills – from how to handle equipment on the beach, to first aid and casualty care – and you’ll receive continuous on-the-job training.

As an RNLI lifeguard, you’ll make a difference by keeping people safe every time you go to work. In 2023, c.1,600 RNLI lifeguards provided cover on over 240 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands. Their presence was needed as they attended 14,293 incidents, helped 19,979 people and saved 86 lives.*

*Correct as of 10/01/2024.

Hear from our lifeguards

  • Margot Lawrence in her RNLI hat standing on a beach
    • Video
    • Video
    Margot Lawrence, RNLI Lifeguard

    'Lifeguarding is the best job ever. I get to work on the beach all summer, with a great team of people. I’ve gained invaluable skills that are going to help me so much in life. And when we’ve done what we’re there to do – saving a life – that’s a really good feeling. Definitely 100% glad I applied.'

  • Become a Lifeguard
    • Video
    • Video
    Become a lifeguard

    As an RNLI lifeguard you'll be a frontline lifesaver. You'll gain both work and life skills and earn good rates of pay. See if you have what it takes.

Find out more about being a beach lifeguard

RNLI Lifeguards running on the beach
Requirements and training
Ready to save lives? This role is rewarding but challenging too. Discover the age, qualification, and fitness criteria for being a lifeguard.
Find out more
Birds eye view of an RNLI lifeguard sitting on a paddleboard at sea.
Find a job
Become an RNLI Lifeguard and get world-class training, good pay and the chance to work on incredible beaches.
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